WSS demands immediate action against BJP ex-MLA Kapil Mishra for inciting violence and against Delhi Police Commissioner for failure to maintain law and order! In the wake of the incendiary speech given by BJP ex-MLA Kapil Mishra on February 23th 2020 where in the presence of the DCP he said, “…if the Chandbagh and Jaffrabad roads are not cleared, then, after (Donald) Trump’s visit, we won’t listen even to you.” Since this speech, the last three days have witnessed a concerted mobilisation of right-wing goons in North East Delhi, several thousands who arrived in vehicles, carrying weapons, including swords, hammers, sickles, iron rods and bats.
On February 24th, this mob faced off against those who had been participating in the Anti-CAA-NRC-NPR protests in the area, predominantly Muslims from the adjoining neighbourhoods. In an effort to disperse the protesters, the police used tear gas aimed at the peaceful Anti-CAA-NRC-NPR protest sites. A short distance away, petrol bombs were being used by BJP-RSS-Bajrang Dal-led forces to burn Muslim homes and shops in Dayalpur, Maujpur, Kardampuri, Bhajanpura, Jaffrabad and Chand Bagh. In Noor-i-ilahi area, along the metro station, several men armed with guns, stones and other weapons were seen charging forward while the police did not respond to the unfolding situation. The Gokulpuri tyre market was set ablaze.
Videos of stone-pelting have revealed a frenzied mob flinging stones with slogans praising Modi, chanting “Jai Shree Ram” and “Bharat Mata ki Jai” interspersed with vile antiwomen expletives. As per reports from hospital officials, at least 35 people, mostly Muslim men have been killed as of now, along with one police personnel, with the death toll rising every hour. Hundreds of men, women and children are injured with distress calls made from GTB hospital urging people to provide medical aid. Videos have surfaced of one person who has been tentatively identified as Mohammad Furkan being beaten to death by the mob. Hotels, shops, petrol pumps, homes, warehouses and several hundred vehicles have been gutted; arson and looting is continuing on homes and shops in Brahmpuri Kalyani and other areas. Women and men from homes were gathered to march in rallies led by Bajrang Dal with communal slogans. People in vehicles were stopped, their IDs checked by helmet wearing armed mobs and Muslim men and women were beaten, verbally abused and sexually assaulted.
Everyone crossing the Maujpur crossroads was being stopped and told to chant “Jai Shree Ram”. Two mosques have been attacked, damaged and desecrated by the Hindutva mobs. These mobs put on a full display of Hindutva dominance, walking in large groups with lathis and celebrating in the roads. Despite section 144, Delhi Police personnel are visible in videos being circulated as silent spectators hand-in-glove with the mob or unwilling to intervene to stop the violence.
In some videos Delhi police are beating muslims with lathis and taunting them, asking if this is the azaadi they want. Such partisan participation in the violence is completely abhorrent and unacceptable. While some women, men and children remain in the sites of anti-CAA-NRC-NPR protests, a large number of Muslims have fled the area. Hordes of men with lathis continue to march through streets with the intention of instilling fear in those hiding inside their homes, asserting Brahmanical control and Hindutva masculinity through crude displays of strength.
The violence unleashed on 24th February continuing well into the intervening nights of 24th and 25th February are an expression of Hindu terrorism unleashing backed by the state. The violence is part of the larger unfolding of the Hindu Nationalism that has been the corner stone of the government’s public policy.
We as WSS see, the current violence as an on-going expression of anti-Muslim and antiIslam political articulations propagated by the RSS over the years, the basis of which is subjugation and/or exodus of Muslims. Despite the community reclaiming symbols of the nation, whether the national flag, national anthem, or Constitution, they are being profiled by their religious location as anti-national.
The insistence by the goons on screaming “Jai Shree Ram” or “Bharat Mata ki Jai” are expressions of the association of the nation-state with a particular religion and the tacit association of the people of a geographical territory as belonging to that religion.
The invocation of ‘Bharat Mata’ by the right-wing terrorists, firstly, conceptualises the notion of a mother as a Hindu mother, and secondly, uses that to abuse women from a religion other than Hinduism. These acts and articulations stand in direct opposition to the secular and democratic pledge of the country as enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution.
The attack on Muslim personhood, in the sexual and physical violence, on men and women are further acts to humiliate, subjugate and dehumanise the Muslim person. This violence has been the underlying in the relationship of the Muslim person with the state. The fallacy and the limit of the secular project lies in the responsibility of proving the secular credentials of the secularism on the Muslim person. Any and all expressions of the assertion of the Muslimness of the Indian-Muslim is seen by the current right-wing regime as a threat to India, and its association in their ideology with Hinduism.
The current violence is part of the bigger Hindu-Hindi-Hindustan articulations of the rightwing. The manner of escalating of violence and it’s spread reeks of a well-planned and executed act, almost on the lines of Godhra 2002.
We are witness to a pre-planned attack on the lives, livelihood and homes of Muslims in Delhi. With a large Muslim population living in these areas, this targeted attack reveals the ways in which the BJP-RSS-Bajrang Dal have fed the blood lust of a mob brought to these locations in vans and vehicles or pulled from Hindu majority localities nearby.
The inaction and reticence of the Delhi Police reveals a marked complicity in the violence in North-East Delhi. This is a pogrom in the making. The convergence in the role of right-wing leaders and the police and the administration in the deaths of several people and the wanton destruction of property clearly marks these as state sponsored attacks on the minority community. The majoritarian display of brute force explicitly reveals the chauvinist masculinity of the brazen Hindu man armed with the impunity provided by the current political dispensation. The lack of political response in the light of escalating violence is worrisome and disappointing.
The newly elected AAP government jumped into action only very late in the night, and the response was not sufficient and is proving inadequate to deal with the scale of the problem. The Delhi home minister, Delhi CM, deputy CM, have effectively demonstrated a dereliction of duty.
The main culprits though are the central government controlled police, who have not just been inactive but have been seen participating in the violence, and the Home Minister, who has effectively sanctioned their actions and those of his party members. As of now the violence is worsening, not de-escalating despite widespread awareness of the seriousness of the situation. In light of the extraordinary situation with which we are confronted, WSS strongly and unequivocally condemns the BJP-RSS-Bajrang Dal led violence. We also condemn the inaction and silence of the state and central government in the wake of the violence.
1. Immediate restoration of law and order, de-escalation of violence, and fulfilment of the duties of law enforcement agencies.
2. The Delhi government must immediately begin serious efforts to restore the right to safe living of the Muslim community – men, women, children – in these violence-wracked neighbourhoods and across the city. All efforts must be made to ensure that those who have been forced to flee are able to return and live in their homes safely.
3. The Supreme court should take suo moto cognisance of the violent situation and act urgently to contain the violence.
4. The state should be providing immediate medical relief on site, in homes of the injured, and ambulance services to those injured. People trapped in these areas should be provided rations by the state government, in light of the destruction of their homes, livelihoods and property.
5. Immediate and stringent action against BJP ex-MLA Kapil Mishra for inciting violence, as well as all individuals and policemen seen engaged in stone-pelting and beatings.
6. The ongoing violence should be investigated by a SIT. 7. Immediate resignation of the Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik, Delhi LG Anil Baijal and Home Minister Amit Shah Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) Website: https://wssnet.org/ ; contact: [email protected]