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Sharia over Indian Constitution? Exodus of Hindus, ban on festivals, attack on procession, demeaning Hindu culture continues in Muslim-majority areas in India

Very slowly, but gradually, the Islamic law of Sharia is taking precedence over the constitution, especially in day to day working of minority Hindus who live there.

The demographic changes in India have begun to show the unprecedented rise in Muslim population, so much so that the Islamic culture has started to dominate many crucial aspects of the society. In India, majority of the population follows the Hindu faith and many things including the festivals and personal lives are governed by the secular constitution of India. However, there are some aspects where there has been demography change, in those areas, very slowly, but gradually, the Islamic law of Sharia is taking precedence over the constitution, especially in day to day working of minority Hindus who live there.

Imposing Sharia in Muslim-dominated countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan is common as the majority population in such countries is Muslims. In fact, these countries have Islam as State religion. In such countries, even Hindus need to follow Sharia, that being the law of land. But in a secular country like India when Hindus in minority are expected and forced to follow Sharia in their day to day life is concerning.

For instance, many schools and colleges and other educational institutes have started to shift their weekly off from Sunday to Friday so that the majority Muslim population can offer their ‘Jumme ki Namaz’ at ease. Recently, several government schools in Jamatra, Jharkhand decided to declare their weekly offs on Friday. This is after the members of the Muslim community residing in those areas compelled the school authorities to do so.

Government schools in Jamatra declared weekly offs on Fridays

As per the report, gradually, more than 100 state-run schools in Jamtara of Jharkhand have started observing Friday (Jumma) as a weekly holiday in schools on religious grounds. Neither these institutions are madarsas (Islamic schools) nor have they received any departmental directives to implement the change. However, under pressure from the parents of Muslim students, who make up more than 70% of the student population at these government schools, the administration has unilaterally decided that Fridays would now serve as students’ weekly holiday instead of Sundays.

A teacher of one of these state-run schools informed on conditions of anonymity, said that though there are only 15 Urdu schools of 1084 total in the area, just a small number of parents had requested the school administration to observe Friday as the weekly off day. The authorities, however, promptly convened a meeting to discuss this and issued arbitrary directives to observe the modification in the weekly off.

Another teacher, who has been at a state-run middle school since 2001, said that 70% of the students in his school are Muslims. He went on to say that one day, out of nowhere, he learned that Fridays would henceforth be the school’s weekly holiday rather than Sundays. However, until today, they had not gotten any official notification, according to the teacher.

School in Garhwa got prayer changed as Mulims constitute 75% of population

Notably, on July 5, it was reported that in Jharkhand’s Garhwa, some members of the Muslim community had a long-standing school prayer modified. They stated that because the Muslim community constitutes 75% of the population, the prayer should be ‘as per them.’ The school management gave in to criticism and modified the prayer.

Not only that, but the Muslim community opposed folding hands during prayer and had it stopped. Hindus fold their hands in prayer, greet with ‘namaste,’ and bow their heads as a sign of reverence. The school management stated that over the past few months, members of the Muslim community had been arriving and causing a commotion, demanding a change in prayer.

Ruckus by Islamists during Saraswati Puja in Jharkhand

The Islamists have to date attacked many Hindus, their processions amid several Hindu festivals like Ram Navmi and Hanuman Jayanti. Hazaribagh, Kodarma and Jamtada districts of Jharkhand also witnessed ruckus after a 17-year-old boy named Rupesh Kumar was murdered by Islamists during Saraswati Puja Visarjan. The incident happened in February 2022 when Rupesh was lynched by a Muslim mob led by one Aslam Ansari.

Also, in Fitkoriya village of Jamatra district, the Muslim mob had attacked the procession of Goddess Saraswati which was led by the Hindus. The Hindus were taking the Saraswati idol to the government pond for the process of religious immersion. The Islamists had warned Hindus to not play DJs and raise slogans and had asked them to change the route of the procession as the planned route was supposed to pass by a Mosque. The Hindus changed the route but were still attacked by the Islamists.

Islamists had knocked the Court doors seeking ban of Hindu processions from Islam dominated areas

The Madras High Court delivered the judgment on the appeals by some local Muslim group to ban the Hindu processions from Muslim-dominated areas and said that allowing religious intolerance was not good for a secular country and that ‘resistance’ by one religious group, if reciprocated by another, could lead to chaos and riots.

The Muslims in Tamil Nadu’s Perambalur, from the year 2012 had objected to some of the Hindu festivals, terming them as Sin. The judges noted that before 2012, temple processions were conducted through all the streets in the village and that there was no problem. Even from the year 2012 to 2015, processions were taken out through all the streets and roads which have been approved by this Court, but later objections were raised.

“Merely because one religious group is dominating in a particular locality, it cannot be a ground to prohibit from celebrating religious festivals or taking processions of other religious groups through those roads,” the court had said reiterating to disallow the religious intolerance.

Islamists mob attacked Dalits in Aligarh’s Noorpur, forcing them to flee their homes

In June 2021, an Islamist mob attacked wedding processions in Noorpur in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh. Two wedding processions were en route to a Hindu’s home. When the procession was passing by, some people from the mosque, which was on the way, attacked the wedding procession. The Hindus were allegedly forced to move forward on foot after which the wedding procession instead of moving forward, returned.

Later, Islamist hooligans unleashed violence on Hindus in Noorpur after which they decided to put their houses for sale and flee the place. Several houses owned by Hindus in Noorpur to date bear a similar message scribbled on the walls reading, “This house is on sale”, and informing prospective buyers that the property is on sale.

After the incident, AIMIM leader in June 2021 had justified the attack and had vowed that Islamists wont let the Hindus to hold wedding procession without permission. “Namaz will take place. And yes, we will not let you (Hindus) take out wedding processions without permission. If you carry out wedding processions without permission, we will not let you do it. Do whatever you want, we will not let you do it”, AIMIM leader Syed Nazim Ali was quoted.

Also recently, a Hindu girl’s wedding in Aligarh was interrupted by Islamists who threw eggs at the family members of the groom for carrying out the procession from the route on which a Mosque was located. The Islamists also abused the groom’s family and passed sarcastic comments on their caste.

Hindus in Bharuch decide to leave homes over demography change

In October 2021, Hindus staying in society in Bharuch were forced to sell their houses after a Islamist purchased 28 flats in the building and sold it to other Muslims. The Hindus in locality had put up ‘for sale’ banners after the changed demography led to harassment including the one where an Aarti was forced to stop at a local temple.

Every Thursday, there would be an evening Aarti at the Jalaram Bapa Temple which was stopped after one Shaukat Ali purchased a house right across the temple. He would object to the Aarti and eventually got many houses in the society which he sold to Muslims by allegedly circumventing the Disturbed Areas Act. Frustrated, the local Hindus even put up the temple for sale.

For over 50 years, Saraswati Puja was not celebrated in Jharkhand due to Islamists

In a small village called Gidaur in Jharkhand, Hindu students celebrated Saraswati puja after 50 long years. The Hindu students had not celebrated Saraswati Puja in Manjhgawantri High School because majority of students who were studying in the school were Muslims.

For long, the village was on tenterhooks as there was tension prevailing between the Hindu and Muslim communities of the village. The tension was mainly due to Hindu students of the High School not being allowed to celebrate Saraswati Puja because of the Muslim students of the school. Reportedly, even in the Peace meetings of the community, this issue was often the dominant issue discussed.

On January 28, 2020 an application was made by the school children to celebrate Saraswati Puja at the block office and local police station. Subsequently, the administration deployed police personnel in the school a day before and the Puja was conducted.

Mumbai resident stopped from celebrating Diwali by Islamists

In year 2019, Vishwa Bhanu, a resident of Malad West, Mumbai, had written on Facebook about the ordeal he suffered on the occasion of Diwali as a consequence of the intolerance of his Muslim neighbours. He said that his wife was not being allowed to light up their house on Diwali and he was forced to remove the lights by the neighbours.

Screenshot from Facebook

The ordeal began when his wife bought new lights for Diwali and wanted to decorate their house for the festival. But when she put it up, Muslims in the locality descended at his place and wanted the lights removed. They claimed that the lights were giving electric shocks and as there were kids in the neighbourhood, it was risky. His wife objected to the claims and said that nothing of the sort was happening.

The mob then proceeded to damage the lights and tore the wires open, and then used the open wires to claim that the lights could give people electric shocks. Women and children were also participating in the harassment. Numerous communal slurs were hurled as well. The mob claimed that Hindus mix urine in everything and one shouldn’t eat food at their place. Ultimately, the couple was forced to remove the lights to prevent matters from escalating.

Bhajan amid Durga Puja were stopped, Islamists had threatened

In year 2019, Islamist mob had entered the Durga Puja Pandal in Mumbai’s Malad and had threatened the Hindus for playing bhajans. Reports mention that the Hindus were barred from singing bhajans and were force to praise ‘Aslam Bhai’. “If you want stay in the colony, you’ll have to say Aslam Bhai, Aslam Bhai. Modi is not going to come to rescue you from here. Aslam Bhai will only come here”, the Islamists had threatened.

Aslam Bhai reportedly was someone who had dominated the area in 2019.

More such incidents of Hindus being harassed in Muslim-dominated areas

The news of Hindus fleeing Kairana grabbed headlines, but this is happening throughout India. Stone pelting against Hindus was reported in the Muslim-dominated neighborhood of ‘Mahajani Tola’ in Madhya Pradesh’s Narsinghpur district. According to the victims, Muslim fanatics in the neighborhood do this on a daily basis. As a result, many Hindu families have been compelled to relocate, and many have already departed the area by selling their homes.

The recent violence in Kanpur was partly the result of a shift in demographics in certain pockets. According to the victims there are relatively few Hindus in this that specific location. “Our neighborhood is called Chandreshwar, and it is home to a few hundred Hindus. On the day of the event, an attempt was made to target our neighborhood in the guise of protest. Only 3% of Hindus live here, yet they prick the eyes of the area’s 97 per cent of Muslims”, the victims were quoted.

After a Muslim mob attacked Hindu households in Himmatnagar, Gujarat, during Ram Navami, they fled to save their lives. Many people sought sanctuary in temples. In addition, during a fight between Hindus and Muslims in Allapur Bhogi, Badaun, during Holi, the police were accused of acting unilaterally. There was also a report of 30 Hindu families fleeing. Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra had requested a study following claims of a Hindu community migration from the Surana hamlet of Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh.

There are many more such incidents which reflect the effects of demographic change in some localities where Hindus have become a minority community. The Hindus in these areas have started living as per the rules laid down by the dominating Muslim community and instead of constitution, which allows everyone to practice their faith freely, some Hindus are forced to live as per Sharia in a secular country that India is.

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Siddhi Somani
Siddhi Somani
Siddhi Somani is known for her satirical and factual hand in Economic, Social and Political writing. Having completed her post graduation in Journalism, she is pursuing her Masters in Politics. The author meanwhile is also exploring her hand in analytics and statistics. (Twitter- @sidis28)

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