This Is Not About The Hijab, This Is An Attempt To Gain Political Mileage By Creating Non-Existent Fissures: Muslim Leader Rahim Uchil Who Spoke To The Girls

by Harsha Bhat - Feb 11, 2022 06:52 PM +05:30 IST
This Is Not About The Hijab, This Is An Attempt To Gain Political Mileage By Creating Non-Existent Fissures: Muslim Leader Rahim Uchil Who Spoke To The GirlsRahim Uchil
  • Here are excerpts from an interaction with Rahim Uchil, the lone Muslim voice from the coast who has been voicing his concerns over the Hijab issue being not one of sporting the headscarf but of using it to create communal tremors.

He has paid a heavy price for being a proud Indian Muslim holding nationalistic views with a left arm broken thrice and missing fingers on his right hand a decade ago. But fatal attacks that have dealt him blows on his skull too haven’t deterred him from voicing his concerns against the Hijab row that has stirred unrest across the country now.

Rahim Uchil, the lone Muslim voice from the coast who has been voicing his concerns over the issue being not one of sporting the headscarf but of using it to create communal tremors right from when the controversy broke out shares that it is not an easy path to chart but the truth will prevail now that the intelligence agencies are probing the matter.

Here are excerpts from an interaction this evening before he heads to chair an event of the Karnataka Beary Sahitya Academy to release ten books in Beary language.

As many news agencies have reported that this issue was stirred after an ABVP protest against the Manipal rape case which also saw some Hijab sporting girls holding the flex and leading the march. The girls holding the banner of the said student organisation is said to have stirred the Campus Front of India, and the PFI, (one of the student's parents being a member of the political outfit taking objection to the daughter not sporting a Hijab in one of the images shared) who kickstarted this agitation which then went onto become the now infamous #HijabRow.

”Divisive forces exist in both communities which have their own objectives and to implement them they are chowing issues like this. And going by what has happened in the last few days it looks like they are being successful,” he laments.

“In the Hijab issue, I had said from day one that it is the PFI that is behind this issue and it was one among the students who had shared it with me personally about the training they had received, where they had been taken, what was the training they received, who trained them. But I chose to not reveal her name but I did ensure the concerned authorities are made aware of what was being planned”.

But he is hopeful that truth will prevail as social media has also been rife with the students association with the organisations which many of them have been denying.

”Today, their twitter account details, their social media interactions have revealed everything and proved our allegations right. With this, the intelligence agencies are investigating the same and the reports of this investigation should arrive soon. Those reports should be what we share with the international community that it is not about the Hijab. Because the Hijab has been worn for many many years now and Hindu boys have also been around and never did they sport the shawls. Also the Hindu management of colleges had permitted them to wear it to colleges, the Hindu and Muslim girls were all living amicably, unlike today,” he says, hopeful of truth emerging at the earliest.

As for those accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party and saffron forces of stirring this entire issue, Uchil asks why would they do it.

“Those who are accusing it of it being a BJP ploy, should answer why it never was raised when the BJP was in power for a full five years nor in the last two years but only now. November, is when it all started as the time was ripe with five states going to elections to portray that there are communal differences, especially to the international community. If it is portrayed that Muslims in India are aggrieved, it will enrage Muslims across the world, and this will have them hating our country, which is the sole intention of these groups. But this will not happen," he assures.

Reiterating the communal harmony and efforts in the region, he gives the instance of the event ongoing where the academy is for the first time releasing books in the Beary language on non-Beary personalities that include Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Rani Abakka, among others.

“We are publishing these books for the first time in the history of the academy, so that our Beary community can also read about and understand these visionary leaders who are bound by no identity, as until now there was a perception that this is a Muslim academy and only publishes books on Bearys,” he says with pride.

But has he been able to have a conversation with the girls since that interaction? “No those forces haven’t let them ever get in touch with us,” he responds.

But aren't there others within the community who can bring just thoughts to the forefront? “They won't and will not be permitted to talk. Because I have been vocal, my hand broke into three parts (showing the large scar marks and grafted skin). Because I spoke, I lost my finger. Because I voiced it, they hammered my head - all four of them were PFI members who were behind bars for four and a half years. They made it a model to show those who would dare talk against them,” says Uchhila.

”They don’t care if you are Muslim or not. If you are against their principles and views, they wont spare their own brothers. And I am the best example for it,” he says, as his right hand with missing fingers catches ones eyes. “It has only strengthened my fight against them. I have nothing against them personally. But anyone who indulges in anti-national activities, which are harmful to our society, I have and will continue to oppose,” he asserts.

Uchhila has been receiving threat calls ever since he spoke about the issue. As Swarajya reported earlier, Uchil has recieved threat calls abusing and threatening him with dire actions for speaking on the issue in favour of the government’s stand following which he lodged a complaint at the Pandeshwar police station. But the news of his lodging complaints invited more calls, he says. “They said they will finish me. The caller identified himself and said do whatever you can, I am willing to be arrested. Even if they do so, I will hit you from wherever I be,“ he said.

“Why are you talking about the Hijab,” they ask, but I have told them this is not about the Hijab but about respecting the law, the government and the judiciary. As an Indian Muslim I have stated what is true for me and for every citizen of this country, that the law is the same for all of us and we should abide them,” he explains.

Their biggest issue was that I disclosed the modus operandi and all else that the girls shared with me, he says.

“But I am walking on the path of truth and this is what my Islam teaches me, this is also what my national constitution teaches me,” he reiterates.

But he is against the Hijab, he specifies not against the right of the students to demand it. “I have never spoken against the Hijab - it it their right to demand. But if the management, which is responsible for thousands of students takes a call, they have to take much more than just four students into account. There were Muslim children who didn't used to sport the Burkha, even they had to be taken into account and then decide, which they did. And the students were expected to comply,” explains Uchil.

”Islam too says the same. Ask what you wish to, but if the management doesn't agree then do not resort to fighting for it, demanding it. That’s what Islam says too. This is what I told the girls and this is when the girls told me that ‘no one spoke to us the way you have, everyone has only tried to turn our thoughts around. Insha Allah, we will try and comply and talk to our parents about it and come to class as you advised. Neevu dua madi (you please pray)’ said the girls during the meeting,” he explains.

”And this is what I said in the media. That, ‘Insha Allah’ means Allah has let his grace be upon them but the PFI hasn't,” he says, signing off, hopeful that the central investigations will soon reveal the truth.

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