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From dehumanising Hindus to scaremongering Muslims: Meet Iqbal Khan, the PFI extremist who wanted to turn India into an Islamic State by 2047

5 Islamists associated with the Popular Front of India (PFI) were arrested during nationwide raids for their involvement in unlawful activities and conspiring against the nation. One of them was Iqbal Khan.

On February 2 this year, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) filed a charge sheet against 5 Islamists associated with the banned outfit, Popular Front of India (PFI).

They were arrested during nationwide raids for their involvement in unlawful activities and conspiring against the nation. One of the Islamists arrested by the Maharashtra ATS was Iqbal Khan.

Iqbal Khan operated Twitter using the handle @khaniqbal129, where he would post tweets in support of the now-banned outfit Popular Front of India besides threatening Hindus with violence.

Screengrab of the chargesheet filed by the Maharashtra ATS

“RSS/BJP is just working for the Brahmanical dominance in India which is a threat to democracy and a threat to every common citizen of India, it will be objected,” Khan expressed his visceral hatred against the Hindu community.

In another tweet, he claimed that ‘custodial violence’ by law-enforcement authorities is a norm for marginalised communities and an exception for Savarnas (supposedly upper-caste Hindus).

While dehumanising the Hindus as ‘saffron terrorists,’ the PFI extremist wrote, “The stronghold of this bloody game is Nagpur (RSS training centre) where every day a new saffron terrorist is born.”

“Today the Indian people need to say that the mullahs who come to bite will also be cut. We need to create such confidence, otherwise the morale of the oppressor will go on increasing,” he openly threatened violence against the Hindu community.

Screengrab of the tweets by Iqbal Khan

While intimidating Hindus, he wrote, “The politics of shed the blood of Muslims and rule in India is going on. Be careful before your number comes.”

Inciting the Muslim community for vengeance

Iqbal Khan was also seen using social media to provoke the Muslim community to avenge the Ram Janmabhoomi judgment. In a tweet in July of last year, he dubbed the historical course correction as ‘injustice done against Muslims.’

He had also turned around the events of the Ram Navami violence in Karauli to paint the Hindu community as the perpetrators. On April 2, 2022, Islamists pelted stones at a Hindu bike rally in the Hatwara Bazaar area of Karauli.

More than a dozen shops and three bikes were set on fire. Reportedly, 43 people, including policemen, were injured in the mob attack while the rally was celebrating ‘Nav Samvatsar’ passed through a Muslim-dominated area. 

Creating hysteria among the masses

Iqbal Khan also dedicated his time on social media to create panic and trigger mass hysteria about the so-called ‘subversion of Indian democracy’ by the BJP.

“Indian constitution has given the right to object to any anti-people government policies but RSS/BJP wants to snatch it from the common people. #PFIJhukegaNahi,” he said in one tweet.

“If you are a Muslim, it does matter whether you are a journalist or political leader, any time any false case is enough to target you. Where is justice and rule of law? #BiharPoliceKaJhoot #IndiaWithPFI,” Khan claimed in another tweet.

On the same day, he reiterated, “Hatemongers still walk free. Innocent Muslims continue to be targeted with false cases.”

When Iqbal Khan peddled distorted political narratives

Iqbal Khan also tried to shield his radical co-religionists, namely, Mohammad Riyaz and Mohammad Gaus, as members of the Sangh Parivar and BJP. “Indian Muslims expressed their protest democratically. Two people who committed Udaipur murder are linked to Sangh Parivar,” he had falsely alleged.

In one of his tweets, the PFI extremist also raked up the issue of allowing ‘hijab’ in government-run colleges in India. “This is the face of Hindutva that Muslims are being discriminated again. They are only asking for their fundamental right,” he had claimed.

When it comes to the question of personal liberty, it is very much protected in India. The issue that arose out of the Karnataka hijab row was that of the uniform dress code. In secular institutions, the school administration has the right to determine whether religious clothing can be permitted within its premises.

The Karnataka High Court observed that the Hijab is not an essential practice in Islam (and more of a choice) and uniform (for all) is a reasonable restriction on the Right to Freedom of Religion.

The same girls, who wish to wear hijabs, can freely do so in public. They are restricted only within the confines of educational institutes, where the concept of uniform exists. This also applies to students belonging to other religions (provided that the practice is not essential in their Faith).

When Lakshadweep administrator Praful K Patel floated a number of proposals to promote the islands as a tourist destination at par with the Maldives, it received strong opposition from Islamists. Iqbal Khan was one of them who wanted to push Lakshadweep into the jaws of Islamic radicalisation.

He also tried to mainstream the false allegations surrounding the ‘rape’ of the Hathras victim (although both forensic and medical reports dismissed allegations of sexual assault) and stir sympathy for Siddique Kappan, who was arrested on October 5, 2020, while trying to enter Hathras with a fake ID.

In its affidavit to the Supreme court, the Uttar Pradesh government informed that Kappan was using the garb of journalism to create a caste divide and law & order disturbance in the State.

The Uttar Pradesh government had submitted a copy of a front-page story by Kappan in Thejas, dating back to November 30, 2011, wherein he claimed that Al-Qaeda terrorist Osama bin Laden was a ‘martyr’.

There were four objectionable videos found in the internal storage of his phone. One of the videos was a demonstration of how to use a glass bottle as a bomb by filling it with petrol, closing it with a waste cloth, and lighting up the cloth.

Another video showed how Muslim women are trained in combat techniques like Karate and lathi sticks. In the third video, a maulana was seen delivering a provoking speech.

In the fourth video, Maulana Ahmed Nadvi was seen delivering a speech that was provoking enough to create a rift between the two communities. In his speech, he was showing objectionable video clips to listeners and incited them to join PFI to fight against Hindus and the government of India.

Iqbal Khan also extended his unwavering support for the likes of Siddharth Vadarajan of The Wire and MeToo accused Vinod Dua, not to forget deceased Urban Naxal Stan Swamy.

He also followed Arfa Khanum Sherwani, Abhisar Sharma, Rana Ayyub, SDPI, Asaduddin Owaisi, Rahul Gandhi, Kunal Kamra, and Prashant Bhushan on Twitter.

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Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Dutta
Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at [email protected]

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