As Kanwariyas, the devotees of Shiva, begin their annual pilgrimage on foot to holy places of Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand and Sultanganj in Bihar to fetch sacred waters of River Ganga and bring them to their local Shiva temples, they seem to have become an easy target for the “liberal-secular” intelligentsia of the country.
The ‘liberal-secular’ media has been hatching a plot to discredit Kanwar yatras for a very long time now. In similar propaganda, Times Now is now upping the ante by terming the Shiv Bhakts as ‘Hooligans’ after they were involved in a one or two stray incidents along their yatras.
Many media outlets and left-leaning journalists are hell-bent on maligning the Kanwar Yatra by painting the yatris as hooligans and miscreants. However, the very same ‘liberal-secular’ including Times Now also ignore most of the brutal attacks against Kanwariyas.
Last year, Business Standard had come up with a ridiculous article targetting Kanwariyas. The article had claimed that 30 million Kawariyas are to gather in Haridwar which is 7% of India’s total labour force and 7.3% of total employed people in the country. The article insinuated that Kanwariyas are unemployed and a waste of the nation’s resources.
While outlets like Times Now, Business Standard, CNN-News18 etc are hell-bent of painting Kanwariyas as hooligans, here are 7 instances when Kanwariyas were brutally attacked, but the media at large, chose to maintain silence:
CNNNews18 refers to attack on Kanwariyas by Muslim mob as ‘Kanwariya Menace’
Last year, a group of Kanwariyas returning from their pilgrimage were attacked with stones and lathis by a Muslim mob in Rajasthan’s Tonk district. However, CNN-News18 had covered the attack on Kanwariyas but they projected it as ‘Kanwariya Menace’. This was done despite there was a video that clearly stated that Kanwariyas were the victims and were attacked.
Kanwariya lynched in Bihar
In Siwan, Bihar a 62-year-old Kanwariya was dragged from a vehicle and was beaten to death by a local mob. According to reports, a vehicle carrying Kanwariyas from Babadham had brushed a bike about 5 km from Lohgajar village. The young man in the bike reportedly called almost a dozen of his associates and the mob started assaulting the Kanwariyas in the vehicle.
But, the ultra-left wing Communist propaganda newspaper The Telegraph published the report with the headline, “1 lynched after Kanwariya vehicle hits bike”. The headline by Telegraph might give the readers an impression that it was perhaps the Kanwariya who was involved in the lynching and not the victim.
Kanwariyas attacked by Muslims for entering ‘their area’
On July 22, 2017, a Muslim mob had attacked a convoy of Kanwariyas for taking out their Kanwar yatra through ‘their area’ in Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh. Communal attacks had erupted after Muslims had objected passing of their yatras through ‘Muslim area’. However, there was no outrage against the Muslim mob for attacking the Hindu Kanwar yatris who were on their way from a religious trip.
Communal tension in Fatehpur after Kanwariyas take out procession passed in front of a mosque
Similarly, in August 2018, communal tensions flared up in Fatehpur town in Sikar district, Rajasthan after Kanwariyas took out a procession through Luharon Ka Mohalla on Churu Road in Fatehpur. They were attacked by members of the Muslim community as the procession passed in front of a mosque.
Muslim bat beat to death for participating in Kanwar Yatra
In another attack, a Muslim mob had killed one of their own man in the Baghpat village in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. A Muslim named Babu Khan was allegedly beaten up at a local mosque by the community after he participated in the ongoing Kanwar Yatra and offered water to Lord Shiva.
Kanwariyas lynched for saying ‘Bol-Bam’
In just last one week, at least three separate incidents have been reported where there have been attempts to either attack or to incite violence against the Kanwar yatris for carrying out their annual yatras. On the first Monday of Saawan on July 22, two Kanwariyas were beaten up by men of the Muslim community for chanting ‘Bol-Bam’ in the Jaunpur district of Uttar Pradesh.
No Kanwariyas in ‘Muslim area’
In another horrific incident, Hindus in a Bareilly village were worried about forced religious conversion by Muslims and contemplated exodus after they faced intimidation. Muslims objecting to even allow Kanwariyas to pass through their village was one of the reasons to which Hindus had thought of fleeing from the village.
Despite all the attacks perpetrated against Kanwariyas, the “liberal-secular” considers them to be a nuisance to the society. For the liberal media, Kanwariyas are the ones who spread plastic pollution, promote hooliganism and also often term them as jobless and Hindutva terrorists.
Lakhs of Hindu devotees undertake the Kanwar yatra every year and sparing one or two incidents the yatra is mostly peaceful. However, the recent attempts by the media to paint Kanwar yatras in the negative shade merely exposes their prejudice against the Hindus and their traditions.