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Are Muslims Second-Class Citizens In India?

The known parts of the universe which are inhabited by the human race are divided into groups based on ethnic or religious identities; somewhere it is caste, somewhere religion and somewhere economic barriers make divided groups of society. India, soon after its independence declared itself a republic with no state religion of its own and equal opportunities to all faiths and practices. But the sequence of events before and after the independence have only proved that minorities, particularly Muslims, have been the worst victims of brutal and deadly violence which has not only threatened their existence but has also eroded the constitutional identity of secular India.

The so-called secular flag bearers of this country had themselves sown the seeds of communal frenzy in this country from the very beginning. Even when the Muslim League was formed, the Ali brothers approached Mohd Ali Jinnah to be its head but he refused to accept the idea due to his secular ethics but as the time passed, he was stung and betrayed many a time which sowed the seeds of a separate state in his mind. It was on these days in 1947 when Muslims were killed through a planned pogrom with more than 2 lakh Muslims killed alone in Jammu in an attempt to change the demographics of the region under the direct control of Dogra ruler Hari Singh. Any helping hand needed to persecute Muslims was provided by RSS and adjoining principalities of Patiala. Their only fault was that they belong to a land which had already been a lost hope. The massacre was carried with such a precision that there is no official record of it except the accounts of a few foreign authors and memoirs of survivors.

Muslims have been persecuted, punished both by the state and non-state actors before and after the independence era which subsequently led to the division of the country on religious parameters. Those who blame the Muslims for neutralising its ethnic identity forget that India prides in its culture and civilisations brought in by Muslim rulers who not only brought art culture architecture ideas but explored the country to the rich and civilised world of gulf and Persia.

But Muslims have also faced persecution at hands of fascist and right-wing groups whose minds are etched with Islamophobia. Some use the excuse of medieval subjugation, some take refuge in forced conversions.

The pages of history are smeared with the blood of innocent Muslims killed in Kolkata, Gujarat pogrom, Bombay riots, Muzaffarnagar. The state of Muslim persecution and their alienation has not changed barring its character. It is now carried out in a more organised and planned manner.

Ever since the BJP came to the corridors of power through its policies of polarisation and communal hatred, fascist forces have taken their heads out – from Parliament to the streets of the country. Under the banner of rakshaks and senas, daggers are drawn every moment. The murder of Akhlaq in Dadri on the excuse of storing beef in his kitchen, and an FIR against the whole family instead of those who killed him, bring forth the state of lawlessness for Muslims in the country.

The disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed from the JNU campus, the slapping of draconian sections of sedition on innocent students clearly shows the war against a particular community. These type of episodes under full media glare and their approval alienates the Muslim community, they find themselves disillusioned and fragmented from the system.

Besides this, thousands of Muslim youth are arrested on false and fabricated charges only to be released after decades to live a purposeless life and those who are under trials are killed in fake encounters. the perpetrators of violence poke their nose in the religious matters of Muslims to subjugate them and derail them from the progressive issues of the community.the Sachar committee report fully explains the parameters of Muslim backwardness and remedial measures which are never to be implemented by these parochial minds.

In Jammu and Kashmir, the only Muslim-majority state in India, thousands of youths have been turned blind through pellet guns, are languishing in jails, and hundreds have disappeared; there have been countless rapes.

In the mainstream, Muslims have hardly been seen as part of the country, as equals who have contributed to the country’s culture, civilisation and history. Today, they are persecuted and killed on minor skirmishes under the twisted guise of Hindutva ‘nationalism’.

Muslims are already lagging behind in many spheres of life and all reports and recommendations are thrown in dustbins like the one presented by Sachar Committee. If this country has to progress in the real sense and brag about its secular character, then it must give Muslims their due share in every walk of life lest these broad chests and chameleonic tongues fail to bridge these widened gaps.

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