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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Multiple attacks on Kanwariyas passing through Muslim-dominated areas in UP

Multiple attacks have been reported on Kanwariyas passing through Muslim-majority areas of UP.

On Monday, Kanwariyas returning back after offering Jalabhishek to Bhagwan Shiv in Doongon village, Wazirganj police station area of Badaun district were accosted by a Muslim mob. The mob demanded they turn off their DJ. As an argument broke out, the kanwariyas were suddenly attacked with sticks and stones pelted on them, showing pre-planned intent to resort to violence. 15 kanwariyas, including women, were wounded in this attack. Police has thus far arrested 11 Muslim attackers including village Pradhan (head) Babu Khan.

Not convinced that this attack indeed took place, India’s ‘premier’ news agency PTI has used this headline to report the incident, which Shekhar Gupta’s Print has faithfully reproduced:

PTI headline hints that reports that kanwariyas were beaten up could be untrue

For the uninformed, use of scare quotes is standard practice when journalists want to convey their scepticism or subtly cast doubt on something.

There are videos of angry kanwariyas protesting, demanding police action. Hindi news reports have specifically said that at least 15 people were injured. Yet, this is not proof enough for PTI and Print? The leading news agency of the country doesn’t have a reporter or stringer that can visit the area and talk to the injured people to ascertain their views? Essentially, PTI is implying that the Hindu pilgrims were not beaten up, but either self-inflicted their injuries or are cooking stories to target Muslims. This is how little ordinary Hindu lives and rights matter to the elite English-speaking crowd that controls our media narrative.

In another attack on Monday, this time in Sultan Nagar, Chaupla area of Amroha district, kanwariyas were attacked with stone and sticks, injuring three. An eyewitness told India TV, “we were returning while playing DJ and walking on our side of the road. The other side was kept open for vehicular traffic, but suddenly we were attacked from there. An administration official was making a video the entire time, but no help was forthcoming.”

Bareilly district, home to the controversial Barelvi school of Islam which gave rise to the ‘sar tan se juda’ anti-blasphemy slogan and allegedly inspired Kanhaiyalal’s murderers, has witnessed at least three attacks on kanwariyas in past few days.

On Friday, Kanwariyas passing through Muslim-majority Pargawan village in Bareilly district were attacked in a pre-planned manner by a mob led by the Gram Pradhan (elected village head) Shakina and her father-in-law Ishtiaq. They first picked up a fight with the pilgrims by telling them to take a different route, falsely claiming that the kanwariyas did not usually pass through the village. Then they objected to the DJ being played. As the argument was wearing on, suddenly Muslim women threw dirty water from the rooftops and stones were pelted on the kanwariyas. Three kanwariyas who had broken off from the main group were cornered and thrashed.

Ishtiaq later tried to mislead police claiming that the kanwariyas came when Muslims were offering Friday namaz (which happens around noon) and hence they were told to turn the DJ off. However, the kanwariyas had reached the village much later, at 5 PM. The prime accused is believed to be Zuvaish, the brother-in-law of pradhan Sakina, and he is absconding.

On Monday, kanwariyas were assaulted by a Muslim mob near Dungopur village in Bareilly, again under pretext of objection to DJ music. District Magistrate Deepa Ranjan said a case has been registered in connection with the incident and efforts are on to nab the absconding accused. Another attack in the district took place in Nawab Ganj area where stone-pelting took place from a house leaving one kanwariya injured.

On July 25, Monday, kanwariyas were spat upon, desecrating the holy kanwar filled with ganga water, and pelted with stones from rooftops in Sambhal. In Meerut too, a kanwar was spat upon by an unidentified youth, defiling the holy water that is supposed to be offered to Bhagwan Shiv. In Muslim-dominated Seelampur area of Delhi, a hub of anti-socials and illegal immigrants, meat was thrown on kanwariyas.

Muslim population in many districts of West UP hovers around 40% as per the last Census that took place in 2011. There are several no-go areas where rule of law just exists on paper. It is no coincidence that this part of the country is the hub of Islamic movements and schools like Deoband, Barelvi, Tablighi Jamaat that have spread Islamic fundamentalism all over the world.

Every year, such attacks on Kanwariyas take place in various parts of North India. English-language mainstream media abets these attacks by branding Kanwariyas as ‘hooligans’ and ‘trouble-makers’. In 2018, a deadly Muslim mob attack on kanwariyas in the volatile Tonk district of Rajasthan had left around 50 pilgrims injured, some of them seriously. One MSM outlet had used the hashtag #KanwariyaMenace when tweeting about this attack on Hindus.

Vitriolic anti-Hindu outlets like Scroll have linked Kanwar Yatra to ‘social pathology’ and ‘toxic masculinity’. Even Muslims who genuinely believe in mutual respect for other religions and view the Kanwar Yatra with respect are subjected to attacks and ostracization by fundamentalists within their community, yet for our HINO left-liberal intelligentsia, this intolerant Islamic fundamentalism is never a talking point.

And where liberal media and intelligentsia leads, Supreme Court follows. In 2018, SC came down hard on “grave incidents of vandalism” allegedly caused by kanwariyas. But when it comes to these repeated annual attacks on Hindu festival processions and pilgrims, a de-facto declaration of sharia law and Muslim no-go zones, all you hear is an eerie silence.

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