BJP leaders were blamed, while the hate-filled speeches of anti-CAA leaders were conveniently forgotten.
The manufacturers of the ‘Muslim pogrom’ narrative forget that the anti-CAA protests were filled with hateful and divisive content from the time they were launched three months ago.
Amidst the gruesome violence in Delhi in the course of anti-CAA protests, several mainstream media channels and intellectuals blamed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders such as Anurag Thakur, Pravesh Verma, Abhay Verma and Kapil Mishra.
A narrative was pushed that Delhi anti-CAA riots were an ‘anti-Muslim pogrom’ orchestrated by the “Hindutva gang”.
As expected, the foreign media allies of the Indian Left quickly picked up and floated the biased narrative, going as far as blatantly lying about the brutal murder of Intelligence Bureau (IB) official Ankit Sharma.
A Democratic Party leader in the US presidential race, Bernie Sanders also tweeted about the events calling it an “anti-Muslim mob violence”.
The narrative is that the anti-CAA protesters were completely peaceful, and it was the “Hindutva gang” that attacked the Muslims, starting the riots.
BJP leader Kapil Mishra’s speech, in which he asked the police to clear out the protesters who had occupied public highway for over a month now, was blamed for the violence.
“Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maron salo ko” (shoot the traitors of the country) slogans raised at some right-wing rallies were blamed. Although, the same slogans were raised by the other side on many occasions as well.
The manufacturers of the ‘Muslim pogrom’ narrative forget that the anti-CAA protests, now into their third month, were filled with hateful and divisive content since the very beginning.
The protesters had, from the start, shown a propensity to engage in stone-pelting, arson, destruction of public property and even gun violence.
It would be interesting to find out whether Harsh Mander and Farah Naqvi, who filed a petition in the Delhi High Court in the aftermath of the riots naming BJP leaders, included the following speeches in their petition or not.
From the very beginning, the anti-CAA protest leaders propagated outlandish lies about the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) and NRC (National Register of Citizenship) to whip up frenzy.
“The worst is already here... police is killing unarmed Muslims”
Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi had recently blamed the BJP leaders for giving inflammatory speeches that led to the violence.
However, the Congress party leaders themselves indulged in spreading fear and frenzy based on lies ahead of the riots. They had repeatedly asked the public to come out on roads and capture public areas, painting the situation as their “last chance”.
“It is duty of all of us to come out of our houses and do andolan,” Sonia Gandhi had said in a speech. She had called the anti-CAA protests “aar-paar ki ladai”.
“Don’t be afraid. Congress party is standing with you. Together, we have to fight...” Rahul Gandhi had said.
Mani Shankar Iyer also gave a speech saying that he is ready to give all the ‘qurbanis’ along with the protesters that are required. “Now let's see whose hands are stronger -- ours or those killers," he said.
Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor also joined the protests against CAA at Jamia Millia Islamia university and the neighbouring Shaheen Bagh area.
Show-business elite also indulged in baseless fear-mongering before the riots.
Several statements were made against the uniformed personnel.
Actress Swara Bhaskar in a speech told the audience that their worst fears had already come true, and a time had come when uniformed personnel were indiscriminately killing unarmed Muslims and looting their properties, abusing them, just because they eat non-vegetarian food.
Can these kinds of speeches provoke the protesters to brutally and repeatedly stab, throw acid and pelt stones on the uniformed men?
Another actor said that CAA-NRC was brought so that Muslim men could be stopped from procreating and increasing their population.
Left activist Harsh Mander was also caught on camera saying, “..this fight will not be won in Supreme Court. Because we have already seen Supreme Court judgement in matters of NRC, Ayodhya.. In all these issues the Supreme Court did not protect the ideals of humanity, equality and secularism.”
He adds, “We will of course try in the Supreme Court. It is our Supreme Court. But the decision will not be made in the parliament, it will not be made in the Supreme Court. What will be the future of India.. one, will be decided on the streets.. and we are all out on the streets..”
“After CAA, Muslims will not be allowed to sport a beard or skullcap”
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Amanatullah Khan, who has come out in defence of the riot-accused AAP leader Tahir Hussein, was caught on camera telling a crowd that after CAA, Muslims will be banned from sporting a beard, or wearing a skullcap.
“What they will do tomorrow - there will be no azaan from the mosques. There will be no mikes. What they will do next, women will not be allowed to walk in a burqa” Khan can be heard saying.
“Fifteen crore Muslims will overpower 100 crore Hindus”
The Islamist supremacist rhetoric was commonplace in the anti-CAA protests from the very beginning.
The AAP leader Amanatullah Khan was caught on video saying that "Muslims ruled India for thousand years".
Other speeches also bear an eerie similarity to the supremacist rhetoric prevalent in the Muslim League members, demanding separate Muslim homeland, citing their superiority as the past rulers of Hindus.
Another AAP leader was caught on camera, speaking in the Jama Masjid at an anti-CAA meeting, glorifying Muslims’ power and invoking ‘Battle of Badr’ where Muslims had defeated, killed, and converted the polytheists and infidels.
“..we merely number between 25 and 30 crore, still they are so scared. This is because they know that we are the Ummati of that Allah’s Rasool, whose army, numbering merely 313, defeated lakhs of infidels”, he said.
AAP leader Manish Sisodia, at the time, had also told the media that AAP stands with the people of Shaheen Bagh.
Another Muslim leader was seen proclaiming on camera that Muslim youngsters were much more powerful, and if instigated once, they will destroy everything.
“You don’t know us Muslims. You don’t know about Karbala. Even if we are only seventy-two, we can kill lakhs,” another Muslim leader’s words were caught on camera.
“If CAA is implemented, we will change the face of Hindustan. We will burn the whole country and reduce to rubble the private property of the whole city,” another is seen saying in front of an assembled crowd.
Just days before the Delhi riots, All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Waris Pathan had made a speech saying that Muslims were only 15 crore but can overpower the 100 crore Hindus.
“...Remember, we will crush you and throw away your remains! Don’t nurture any false notions... ye chadha-chaddi walon ko (a reference to RSS), goli maro salo ko,” yet another speech at anti-CAA protest.
“Neither CAA will remain, nor this government will remain. If these two things remain, then nothing else will remain. Whatever is required for this, Muslim community is ready... we have already decided... now Hindustan will accept it... you have no option... the decision has already been taken by Shaheen Bagh. Now it’s your choice... whether your grave will be 2 feet or 20 feet deep,” spoke the leader of the anti-CAA protest at Nanded.
“You don’t know us. We are that qaum that if we decide to destroy, we will not leave anyone. We can destroy any country. This is the level of anger, this is the level of emotions..,” Faizul Hasan, former Aligarh Muslim University Students' Union leader was heard addressing a protest crowd.
When little kids say we will murder Modi
“Amit Shah is thinking he will kill all Muslims. We will not let let this happen. Will will kill both Shah and Modi,” a little girl at Shaheen Bagh protest is heard saying on camera.
When someone asks her what is the problem with CAA-NRC. The little girl says that Muslims will be kept in a camp, will not be allowed to wear clothes or have food.
She also uses an abusive word for Home Minister Amit Shah, and then continues, “These two (Modi and Shah), who are torturing Muslims, will be killed by us.”
“I will take Modi’s life, my name is infamous for a reason,” another kid says on camera.
Several little kids were caught on camera raising azadi slogans, “tera baap bhi dega aazadi”, calling the elected Prime Minister and Home Minister of the country thieves, and shouting other abusive words.
The young children may not understand the gravity and meaning of the words they are saying, but it’s a pertinent question — from where these kids learnt so much hate? What were they hearing at these protests?
From “kafiron se azadi” to Om as a Nazi symbol
From the very beginning, the thread of Hindu-hatred running from Delhi Sultanate to the Partition was visible and condoned by the organisers of the anti-CAA protests.
At one protest meeting in Bhubaneshwar, the group of protesters chanted “in kafiron se azadi” slogans. Kafir is an Arabic term used derogatorily to refer to those who do not believe in Allah or Islam.
The protesters at Bengaluru held a poster where in the ‘Om’ symbol was morphed to look like Nazi’s hooked cross, with “F**k Hindutva” written alongside.
If the fight is against ‘Hindutva’ and not ‘Hindus’ as the protesters claimed when audio-clips of them purportedly chanting “Hinduon se azadi” came out, why desecrate Hindu sacred symbols to make a political point?
Another protest saw a poster using the Goddess Kali imagery with her head wrapped in a hijab.
Protesting against the CAA, a mob attacked and desecrated a temple in Bihar’s Patna on Saturday, 21 December 2019. The helpless bystanders shot the video of the alleged incident and posted them on the social media. Pictures of the vandalised temple, along with the broken idols were also posted.
“All idols will be removed... only Allah’s name will remain” and Jamia sheroes
The Faiz Ahmad Faiz poem sung widely by the anti-CAA protesters includes the lines about removing the idols from the Kaaba, and how only Allah’s name will remain.
The lines, in the context of the history of persecution of Hindus as ‘idol-worshippers’ and brazen destruction of their temples, are offensive to a lot of Hindus, but acceptance of the poem was put up as a standard that Hindus must meet to be secular.
The normalisation of Hindu hatred was shocking to say the least.
Faiz’s poem was one of the several options that the protesters had, but as a Jamia ‘shero’ made clear, “we have submitted completely towards the almighty. We have abandoned secular slogans long before”.
“La ilaha illallah Muhammadu rasoolullah. This is our slogan. This will be our slogan,” reads one post.
In another post opposing the NRC and CAA, this ‘shero’ compared the opponents to kafirs, glorifying the early Islamic victories at Badr, Uhd, Karbala, and threatening them, asked the opponents to learn about ‘our jihad’.
She also shared the picture of a hijabi holding an assault rifle, and another showing burka-clad women pelting stones. “Don't underestimate the power of HIJABI," was the caption.
Other posts were discovered in support of Yakoob Memon, Afzal Guru, both convicted terrorists.
Later, the same women toured the country giving speeches to large crowds at the anti-CAA protests.
Meanwhile, the taxpayers of this country — the majority community — was left wondering why they are forced to pay for Jamia Milia Islamia, effectively funding the propagation of above-mentioned views.
Chief organiser of Shaheen Bagh Sharjeel Imam’s views eulogising Jinnah and his Direct Action Day
The chief organiser of the Shaheen Bagh protests Sharjeel Imam, also a columnist of The Wire, was heard saying in several video clips that Muslims should cut off Assam from the rest of the country.
While some media houses tried to spin it as a call for only “chakka jaam”, Imam clearly says in the video that Assam should be cut off “permanently” from India, and if not permanently, then at least for months.
Imam was also captured on camera asking the Muslims to show their demographic power. “Don’t Muslims have even that much haisiyat to close down north India?” he had asked.
The piece published by The Wire in which Imam praises Jinnah thoroughly for his “positive communalism” and exhorted Indian Muslims to learn from him indicates the kind of politics he was preparing for.
Interestingly, “Jinnah wali Azadi” slogans were also in the mix at anti-CAA protests.
In his various Facebook posts, Imam had compared ‘nationalism’ to ‘but-parasti’ (idol-worship) in being a shirk.
In another video, he is seen telling people that if they want to continue their struggle just on the basis of Constitution of India, then they will fail.
Imam could be heard in a video calling Mahatma Gandhi “the greatest fascist” who gave the slogan of “Ram Rajya”, and made Congress a “Hindu party”.
“Moving forward, our plan should be to form our own intellectual cell. This cell should not have any lagav (sympathies) towards Gandhi, nation (unclear) etc. instead, it should bring clarity on our enemies”.
In another Facebook post, Imam says that the line that “Indian Muslims chose India at the time of partition” is a “Hindu Nationalist” line and an insult to Muslims.
He says that even a kid can tell that Jama Masjid, Ajmer Sharif and own land properties couldn’t be packed and taken away to Pakistan. “Yes, if there had been a choice, the whole Hyderabad could have surely been packed and shifted completely beside Lahore”.
He also says that the “the narrative of choice” is only applicable to Muslims who stayed in India for “the baqa (survival) of Islam so that the hard work of hundreds of years doesn’t go waste in just one day”.
Imam is referring to several prominent Muslim leaders who at the time of Partition stayed back in India because they wanted to convert the whole of India to Dar-ul Islam.
AAP leader Amanatullah Khan, Actress Swara Bhaskar, and other anti-CAA protest leaders had shared stage with Sharjeel Imam on different occasions.
Before he was taken into police custody, Imam had already addressed and groomed thousands of protesters at different places.
The anti-CAA riots
The riots occurred at the time of the visit of the US President Donald Trump.
As far as motive is concerned, it was the anti-CAA protesters who would want to foment trouble during the visit of a US dignitary when BJP is in power, not the alleged “Hindutva gangs”.
There was an anti-American angle to these protests as well — an expression of unease with stronger US-India ties.
Sharjeel Imam had already summarised this anti-American sentiment in an Facebook post, where he says that America has taught the world that “Muslims can become terrorists because their religion has a problem”, and India is following the same path as US and Israel.
The mainstream media didn’t cover them when the anti-CAA protesters started the trouble against others.
Only the next day, when some Hindu retaliation occurred, the media coverage began to swiftly label the riots as anti-Muslim pogrom.
It was almost out of a written script — the media-persons quickly filled up their website and papers with the selective photographs of Muslim victims. At other places, the photograph of a mob with Muslim members was falsely labelled as "Hindutva goons”.
Concerted attempts were made to show that these “Hindutva goons” were provoked into attacking unarmed and peaceful protesters by BJP leader Kapil Mishra’s speech. Mishra also received several death threats.
Meanwhile, the violent, hate-filled speeches that have been a part of the anti-CAA protests since the beginning were forgotten.
The riots weren’t completely over and no clarity had emerged on the happenings, but the scholars sitting in foreign universities were ready with their justification of the gruesome attacks on police personnel — that the uniformed personnel were complicit in the “anti-Muslim pogrom”.
When petrol bombs, and sacks full of bricks, stones were found on the rooftop of AAP leader Hussein accused of murdering an IB official, these people quickly jumped to his defence calling it a “defensive” measure.
The petrol bombs and dozens of sacks full of bricks and stones couldn’t be collected quickly “in defence” after the riots broke out. These had to be collected over an extended period of time beforehand.
Now, three more bodies have been fished out of the drain near Hussein's house.