Over the past four years, there has been a significant rise in hate crimes against minorities across the country. From the lynching in Dadri to the gruesome rape of 8-year-old Asifa Bano, the rise of majoritarianism and ultra-nationalism has wreaked havoc on minorities, especially Muslims.
On August 15 this year, while PM Narendra Modi was addressing the nation and reassuring citizens of keeping faith in democracy, a 25-year-old Muslim man had a near-to-death experience in the Okhla area of the national capital.
Daud Arif, a research assistant at All India Radio – Akashvani, lives in a studio apartment on a terrace. A few young men, identified as sons and nephews of the landlord, were indulging in drugs, alcohol, and loud music. According to the Facebook video upload by Arif to narrate the series of events, the miscreants allegedly urinated in front of his door.
To avoid any altercation with the intoxicated group of men, Arif approached the landlord and asked for help. When Daud along with landlord confronted the youths, one of them started hurling insults and threatened to kill Arif. He also claimed that with him being a Hindu it’d be easier for him to kill a Muslim and get away with it.
“”Tu musalmaan hai, tujhe maar daalenge aur humara kuch nahi hoga (You are a Muslim. If we kill you nothing will happen to us),” said the youth.
Arif claimed that the youth even tried pushing him off the terrace. Frightened with such threats, Arif decided to leave the place immediately. He reached New Friends Colony police station and narrated the entire incident to the police. The police advised Arif to vacate the house and assured police protection.
The resurgence of Hindutva politics has labelled Muslims as the ‘others’. Even the legislators of the ruling party at the Centre have often lent their weight to the culture of hatred to secure their vote banks. It’s ironical that on the day India pledged to be a secular democracy, Arif was targeted for practising a particular religion. There are many Arifs who are struggling to claim freedom to live freely with their identities. The rise of majoritarianism has consumed many nations. Let’s not become one of them.