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Pulwama terror attack is a violent expression of Hinduphobia

We demand that the Govt of India take revenge for the terror attack in Pulwama. We also demand that those who promote anti-Hindu hatred be intellectually and culturally marginalized.

Question everything. Question the defence preparedness of India. Question the intelligence failure of the Government. Question our policy in Kashmir. But also question the ideology behind the dastardly terror attack in Pulwama.

In the chilling Jaesh-e-Mohammad video released after the attack, the terrorist Aadil Ahmed Dar expects to attain “jannat” by killing “people who drink cow urine”.

Now, where have we heard this language before? Who uses this language to insult Hindus and their beliefs? Who cracks beef jokes?

Let’s be clear: the terrorist attack in Pulwama yesterday was a violent expression of Hinduphobia. 

Calling Kashmir a political problem is possibly the biggest lie ever told. Along with other lies and obfuscations of the same vein: such as talking about self-determination or some plebiscite that nobody cares about.

It’s just a cover story, those who are using it and those who are spreading it know exactly what they are doing. The erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir consisted of exactly that: both Jammu and Kashmir. Now, who has ever heard of somebody from Jammu speaking of Azaadi? Why does it happen only in Kashmir and not in Jammu? The reason could not be more obvious.

To those who are mocking “bhakts” for pointing fingers at JNU or AMU after yesterday’s attack: it is because violent Hinduphobia is as much a structural problem with society as racism, antisemitism, casteism or sexism.

And so, when a violent attack like this happens, it is absolutely necessary that we point fingers, shame and expose institutions that promote and perpetuate Hinduphobia in society. Like Ku Klux Klan rallies intimidating African Americans, angry Hinduphobic hate mobs chanting ‘Bharat ke tukde’ are very much a form of intimidation against Hindus.

There is absolutely no reason to forget that what we call the “Republic of India” is a truncated homeland, a leftover from Partition. It was leftover after Hindus were expelled from everywhere else in the land that was historically India. Literally, millions of people were massacred due to anti-Hindu hatred. This was no different from the Holocaust.

And modern Hinduphobia, as it exists both inside and outside India, is exactly like anti-Semitism.

Those who are calling for Bharat ke tukde are calling for another holocaust of Hindus. And just like rabid anti-Semitism, this needs to be called out, marginalized and exposed.

Beyond the violent Hinduphobia of someone like Aadil Ahmed Dar, or the hate mobs that chant Bharat ke tukde, there is also the deep seeding of anti-Hindu tropes among large sections of people. Worse, the ‘intellectual’ complex is actually pushing society, both in India and abroad, towards an even tighter embrace of these prejudices against Hindus.

Take, for instance, the rising tide of prejudice against a Hindu who wears a mere T-shirt with Hanuman on it. An Indian media website seeded the idea that anyone with this shirt should be seen as a potentially violent criminal. Global outlets picked up on the idea quickly. This has parallels with old racist prejudices against African Americans, whose men were shown as exceedingly lustful and a “threat” to white women.

Like crimes that are related to race, gender or caste, Hinduphobic hate crime does not take place in a vacuum. And the buck does not stop with punishing the person who broke the law. The wider societal prejudices must be addressed as well.

When a woman becomes a victim of a dowry-related offence, or there is female foeticide or female infanticide, of course, we throw the criminal in jail. But we don’t stop there. The crime hangs on the collective conscience of society as well. The underlying patriarchal attitudes in society need to be addressed. The same goes for caste-based atrocities. We don’t stop with punishing the person who committed the crime. We demand that society cleanse itself of its prejudices.

Hinduphobia deserves to be tackled in much the same manner. We demand that the Govt of India take revenge for the terror attack in Pulwama. We also demand that those who promote anti-Hindu hatred be intellectually and culturally marginalized.

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Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or may not be an Associate Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar - A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.  

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