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India-Pakistan: Udaipur killing

Friday 1 July 2022, by siawi3


Udaipur killing


Published July 1, 2022 - Updated about 5 hours ago

THE grisly beheading of a Hindu man by two Muslim suspects in the Indian city of Udaipur must be unequivocally condemned.

The suspects reportedly committed the crime after the victim uploaded content on social media apparently supporting the BJP politician who had earlier made blasphemous remarks about the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The victim had been arrested a few weeks ago over the posts but the matter was resolved after members of the Muslim and Hindu communities held a ‘peace meeting’.

After the murder, the state of Rajasthan remains on edge, with Udaipur under curfew to prevent communal flare-ups.

While the Indian authorities need to fully investigate the crime and punish the culprits, there must be no rush to blame Pakistan for this atrocity — as some in the Indian government have done. Moreover, the murder must not be exploited by communal forces seeking to further demonise India’s Muslims.

Indian officials claim one of the suspects was linked to a Pakistan-based religious group and had visited Karachi in the past. With regard to these claims, the Foreign Office has said that “we categorically reject any such insinuations”.

Read: Zubair or Udaipur — Under Modi, India has entered era of total politics

If Indian investigators have solid evidence linking the suspects to any organisation based in this country, instead of indulging in a media trial they need to share such proof with Pakistan. Local authorities — if credible evidence is received — must follow up and if a link is indeed established, start the legal process. But India must not jump the gun — as it is prone to doing in Pakistan’s case.

No doubt, Pakistan continues to wrestle with the demons of extremism. Yet in India, thanks to the toxic politics engendered by Hindutva, Hindu majoritarianism and fanaticism are being promoted at the state level by excluding Muslims from the mainstream and treating them as perpetual outsiders and ‘enemies’.

The crime committed in Udaipur did not happen in a vacuum.

Ever since the BJP took power in 2014, the state has either kept quiet as Muslims have been lynched, attacked or disallowed from freely partaking in their cultural and religious practices, or it has actively participated in their exclusion by legislating discriminatory citizenship laws. Moreover, senior members of India’s ruling class — such as the UP chief minister — have constantly indulged in Muslim-baiting, while the insulting remarks directed at Islam’s most sacred figure crossed a red line.

It is in such an atmosphere of hate that the crime in Udaipur took place. While there can be no justification, context is important. Clearly, if Indian authorities fail to address the rising trend of Hindu extremism in their country, radical Muslim elements will emerge to counter it.

Meanwhile, progressive elements in India must ensure that this reprehensible crime is not used as a rallying cry by the Sangh Parivar to further tighten the screws on India’s Muslim citizens, and perpetuate the cycle of hate.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2022
Indian Muslims



FO rejects Indian insinuations linking Pakistani organisation to gruesome killing in Udaipur

AFP | Naveed Siddiqui

Published June 29, 2022 - Updated a day ago

This file photo shows security personnel deployed outside the Foreign Office in Islamabad. — AFP/File

The Foreign Office (FO) on Wednesday “categorically rejected” Indian insinuations linking a Pakistani organisation to the suspects involved in the alleged murder of a Hindu tailor in Udaipur.

“We have seen reports in a segment of the Indian media referring to investigations into the murder case in Udaipur, mischievously seeking to link the accused individuals, Indian nationals, to an organisation in Pakistan,” the FO said.

We categorically reject any such insinuations, which are typical of the BJP-RSS ‘Hindutva’ driven Indian regime’s attempts at maligning Pakistan including by externalising their internal issues through pointing fingers towards Pakistan, it added.

“Such malicious attempts will not succeed in misleading the people, either in India or abroad,” the FO said.

Hundreds of police were deployed in the Indian city of Udaipur after the murder of a Hindu tailor allegedly by two Muslims in revenge for inflammatory comments about Islam by a ruling party member.

The attack — in which the men seemingly tried to behead their victim — was captured on video that went viral and has gripped a country with a long history of communal violence.

The video showed Kanhaiya Lal being attacked in his shop, with further footage showing the two accused purportedly brandishing large knives and threatening to kill Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

They then justified their murder as a response to Lal’s alleged support of derogatory comments about Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) by a spokeswoman for Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP party, Nupur Sharma.

The remarks by Nupur Sharma at a TV debate in late May sparked protests that turned violent in some parts of India and demonstrations across the Islamic world.

According to the Hindustan Times, an investigation had revealed that the suspects — who have been arrested — had links to “Karachi-based Sunni Islamist organisation Dawat-e-Islami, which has links with Barelvi pan-Islamic Tehreek-i-Labbaik extremist organisation in Pakistan”.

Lockdown in Udaipur

Hundreds gathered outside Lal’s house ahead of his funeral on Wednesday, a day after several hundred protested and chanted Hindu slogans in response to the killing.

Photo: Policemen carry out a flag march through a street in Ajmer on June 29 following the alleged murder of a Hindu tailor by two Muslim men in Udaipur. — AFP

People on motorcycles and cars waved saffron flags — the colour of the Hindu faith — and shouted slogans demanding the death penalty for the accused.

“Hang them, hang them. My husband has gone,” the man’s distraught widow told reporters.

“If the law doesn’t want to do anything, give them to us so that we can kill them,” said another relative.

The two young men were arrested on Tuesday as they attempted to flee Udaipur by motorbike, news reports said.

The central National Investigation Agency (NIA) said that the men circulated the video “in order to trigger panic and strike terror among the masses across the country”.

To prevent potential sectarian violence, authorities deployed 600 extra police and put the city of around 450,000 people under curfew, cutting mobile internet access there and in other parts of Rajasthan state.

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot appealed to people not to share the video as it would “serve the attackers’ motive of creating discord in society”.

“The involvement of any organisation and international links will be thoroughly investigated,” Indian Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted.

Indian Muslim organisations condemned the killing, but Surendra Kumar Jain from the far-right Hindu group Vishwa Hindu Parishad said that many Muslim leaders have “insulted Hindu beliefs”.

“You should be afraid of the day when Hindus too start giving reply to the insult in the same coin,” Jain said in a video message.

A demonstration in New Delhi called by a far-right Hindu group drew around 100 people shouting slogans.

Diplomatic storm

The derogatory remarks about Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) by BJP spokeswoman Nupur Sharma at a TV debate in late May sparked protests that turned violent in some parts of India and demonstrations across the Islamic world.

She was sacked by the party after her comments, which prompted the governments of nearly 20 countries to summon their Indian envoys to express their displeasure.

Lal’s wife told broadcaster NDTV that on June 10 her husband was arrested over a social media post supporting Sharma and released on bail a day later.

Five days later the father of two said he had received death threats but on Tuesday returned to work in his shop, she said.

The purported video of the killing — which police have not yet confirmed is genuine — showed Lal measuring one of the men for new clothes before he and his accomplice attacked him.

Sporadic violence

India has seen sporadic sectarian violence between majority Hindus and Muslims, who make up around 14 per cent of the 1.4 billion-strong population.

Religious riots in the capital New Delhi left 53 people dead in 2020, while in 2013 another 62 were killed in the nearby city of Muzaffarnagar.

In 2002 at least 1,000 were killed in violence in Gujarat — at the time led by then state premier Modi. Most of the victims were Muslims.

Rajasthan also saw riots earlier this year, when almost 100 people were arrested after police fired tear gas to stop fighting and stone-pelting.

Modi’s party has been accused of marginalising the Muslim community and sowing divisions with Hindus since coming to power in 2014.

The row over Sharma’s comments followed anger across the Muslim world in 2020 after France’s president defended the right of a satirical magazine to publish blasphemous sketches of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).