The lockdown has made us all realize the reality of our country. Our entire country is divided into various sections on the basis of religion, income, and the color of your skin. Unity in diversity is just a statement but it is never implemented. Reports have shown that communal violence has increased tenfold during the lockdown. We need to curb the virus and also curb communal violence.
Till the time people don’t realize the importance of being human, instead of preferring one religion over others, people will not have the right amount of sensitivity for others. Offices and homes are being searched for cases of the infection but who will search for the discrimination happening?
According to a survey, from March 22 to mid-April, about 30 arrests were made in the Muslim majority areas of North East Delhi. The targeting of Muslim residents was followed by everyone in the country. The last straw was reached when students were being arrested. Youth leader, Umar Khalid and Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider were arrested in broad daylight under the UAPA. Later on, Kanwaljit Kaur Was also arrested and her phone was confiscated.
After a lot of protests, the chairperson of the Delhi minorities commission sent a notice to the police commissioner that they were arresting young Muslim boys and girls by dozens every single day during the lockdown. At the moment, he has been charged by the Delhi police for sedition and criticism for the communalisation of the pandemic.
Those who have been arrested, are being treated in a very bad way. Families of those who are rounded up said that they are not provided with copies of the FIRs. The families are unable to understand the grounds for arrest and are not able to get legal help. This is right out misuse of power over the citizens of the country.
It has also been observed that caste violence has increased in Tamil Nadu during the lockdown. There were at least 25 cases of atrocities against the dalits in one month which mark a 40% increase in such cases. People who commit crimes are not afraid rather they feel accomplished and feel good about them. The concept of racism and casteism has been embedded in our minds so deep that we have started normalizing it to a point when we don’t even realize that the other person is also a human.
When we talk about the heart of the country, Delhi, it seems that Arvind Kejriwal has betrayed the North East Delhi people who were affected because of the communal violence that happened earlier this year. This violence took away 53 lives and destroyed homes in slums. People in this area don’t receive rations and food supplies and they are dying of hunger. Northeast Delhi is ironically the most populated district in India and this area was a part of the violence. Children are out on the roads to beg so that they can secure some cash for the daily provisions. The government has failed these people and has made them believe that every community is not equal in India.
The Delhi government filed charge sheets for the North East Delhi riots in the middle of the pandemic. Addressing an election rally in Jharkhand, PM Modi said that those setting fire to public property during the anti-CAA protests could be identified by their clothes. He did not elaborate or explain further on. Instead of coming on the TV and addressing the public, our prime minister chose an electoral platform to further isolate and target the weak communities. According to the chargesheets, no Muslims were killed. Perhaps for the Delhi police, Muslim corpses and burnt houses do not exist.
An intelligence officer from the United States of America, Dan Coats, gave a statement that the BJP policies during Modi‘s first term have deepened the communal tensions in some states in India. There are various Hindu nationalist campaigns going wrong and that acts as a signal to incite low-level violence.
Various leading organizations have pointed out that, it can be observed that the government is using the pandemic to crush the voices of the citizens who are giving out anti-nationalists stances even when they are true.
According to some New Delhi-based activist, more than 800 people have been arrested in connection with the violence. Most of them are Muslims in this and this does not come as a shock to us. The students who were arrested, granted bail by the court but were arrested again within minutes. All these arrests are being made when people cannot go out and no judicial help is available due to the lockdown.
To our horror, a video surfaced on the internet where a man was being forced by the Delhi police to sing the national anthem. These people were being beaten up and the policeman was capturing this incident on his phone. After this, the Delhi Police illegally detained him for over 36 hours and did not give him urgent medical attention. Due to this, Faizan died and the Delhi police gave a statement that they never took Faizan into custody. But various eyewitnesses, legal volunteers, and family members of the deceased have said that this death was directly related to the actions of the police and communal violence.
The great barrier between religions and casteism is increasing day by day and nothing productive is coming out of it.
The fact is that people shouldn’t be afraid of the government, the government should be afraid of their people. Calling out to the government does not make you anti-nationalist, in fact, you are exercising your rights as a citizen of a democratic country. If the government is not working for all the people then what is the use of this government?
A true patriot is someone who will rebel against the government if it becomes necessary to protect the greater good of the fellow citizens.
Mob lynching has also been at a very high level during the pandemic. People are taking advantage of the situation and are targeting weak communities.
Tabrez Ansari, who was the victim of mob lynching in Jharkhand, died because of communal violence. He was forced to chant Jai Sri Ram and Jai Hanuman. He died in police custody and this is just another case that is very normal to India because the police role, in this case, has come under question from the very beginning but nothing has been done for it. A murder charge was put against the 11 accused but it has been dropped now. The life of a common man does not matter till the time the people who have been accused are in power.
Communal violence is not the sign of a progressive country. Till the time we do not understand that questioning and demanding answers is completely normal, we won’t be able to move ahead as a country and this will hamper our future generations!