This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by MOHAMMAD SARTAJ ALAM. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Islamophobia And The Pandemic: Muslims In Jharkhand Get Hate And Abuse

More from MOHAMMAD SARTAJ ALAM

India’s state of Jharkhand has witnessed not one, not two, but dozens of mob lynching cases.

Even amidst the pandemic and lockdown, Muslims in India are being subjected to injustice, lynching, discrimination and abhorrence. Islamophobia in India is inescapable.

Currently, the whole world is united owing to COVID-19 and struggling to win this battle. To prevent the spread and escape of the proliferating virus, India is in lockdown. While India’s lockdown has led to a decrease in pollution levels and improved quality of water bodies, the social environment in India is turning poisonous and lethal.

In fact, incidents happening across the country are demonstrating that the communal virus is more perilous than COVID-19, which has enrooted faster than the coronavirus. Although there are plenty of such cases all over India, I will mention three incidents from the mineral-rich state of Jharkhand.

30-year-old pregnant Rizwana Khatun was beaten and abused by the hospital workers. Her condition deteriorated, and she gave birth to a stillborn child. She was subjected to harassment and denied medical assistance because she was a Muslim. Raju Ansari of Ramgarh district was lynched because he was identified as a Muslim. Nasim Khan, a vegetable vendor in Jamshedpur, was stopped from selling vegetables when a group of men learned about his religious identity.

One thing was common amongst all three: they were abhorred for being Muslim and accused of spreading the coronavirus in India. Interestingly, there is not even a single coronavirus case in Jamshedpur and Ramgarh districts.

Pregnant Woman Beaten For Being Muslim

After learning about pregnant Rizwana being Muslim, the hospital worker abused, beat and accused her of spreading coronavirus.

On April 16, at 1 a.m., she went to the hospital with her brother due to sudden bleeding. She reached the Government MGM Hospital in Jamshedpur in Jharkhand. She continued to bleed in the labour room and bled on the floor. The hospital employee present there asked for her name, and on hearing it, the employee accused her community of spreading the coronavirus and abused her. The hospital employee asked her to clean the blood on the floor.

Upon this, the victim, Rizwana told the nurse that she was not in a state to stand and wouldn’t be able to clean. She pleaded them to call her mother as her condition deteriorated. Rizwana was beaten and harassed by the employee. Rizwana’s brother, Mohammad Meraj, reached the spot and protested against this.

He said, “Seeing the blood spread on the ground, an employee in the labour room asked my sister to clean it. My sister said that her condition was not good, and asked them to call someone from the family. The employee denied medical assistance and abused my religion. Seeing all this, at first I protested but looking at my sister’s unconscious state, I thought it was better to take her to another hospital where she would be treated.

Mohammed Shamim, Rizwana’s husband, with tears in his eyes, said that his wife’s condition deteriorated due to the negligence of the hospital staff; there was no treatment in the labour room for half an hour and the bleeding continued. The condition of his wife deteriorated, and the baby died. His wife is better than before; but a life that was in the womb, before opening to the world, was turned off.

Despite permission to have two ladies with the patient, we were evicted from the ward. My daughter was not treated inside the ward, and whatever happened is wrong, it should never happen to anyone,” said Razia Khatoon, mother of Rizwana.

We have not yet investigated. All things will be known only after the investigation. Anyone can be accused, anyone can accuse. It’s easy to be accused or get accused. The only thing that matters now is the truth,” said Dr N. K. Chaudhary, Deputy Superintendent.

A Man Lynched For Being Muslim

Jharkhand Muslims Lynching protest
Today, there are innumerable cases across India in which poor Muslims are being accused of spreading the coronavirus by propagating Islamophobia and polluting the clean social environment.

India’s state of Jharkhand has witnessed not one, not two, but dozens of mob lynching cases. The horrifying memories of the Tabrez Ansari mob lynching case were not yet blurred, when, once again, a mob hunted a Muslim figure.

In the Giddi police station area of Hazaribagh district, a man named Raju Ansari was beaten severely on charges of theft. Oddly enough, when the police arrived, instead of taking action against the mob, they were seen interacting sympathetically with the miscreants. The police was also seen manhandling the victim without clothes.

The incident occurred on the night of April 18. Raju went to his in-laws house in Giddi of Hazaribagh. The region comes under Ramgarh, Patratu police station area. According to Raju’s father, Ali Jaan Ansari, when Raju was returning from his in-laws after meeting his pregnant wife, his bike ran out of petrol.

It was almost 11 o’clock at night. He stopped in search of a fuel station when a group of men asked his name. As soon as he told them his name, they started beating him. The video of this incident circulated wherein the crowd is seen abusing Raju, calling him the country’s malevolence and accusing him of spreading the coronavirus.

Senior journalist Ravi Prakash gave this information to the Chief Minister of Jharkhand. The Chief Minister took swift steps and saved Raju’s life. But he is still badly injured.

As soon as they heard Raju’s name, they started beating and calling him a thief. He was beaten up naked even in front of the police. My son kept saying that he was innocent, but they did not listen. The police also took Raju without clothes,” said Ali Jan Ansari.

On being accused of theft, in Patratu, the regional police station where Raju’s house comes under, the police station in-charge, Adil Hussain, was asked about this. He said that Raju had no criminal background, and that he was a labourer in a brick kiln.

Raju is admitted in RIMS Hospital in Ranchi. The Superintendent of Police spoke to Raju over the phone. He asked where the injury was. My brother said, ‘Sir, ask me where there isn’t an injury’,” said Shamsher Ansari, Raju’s brother.

Hazaribagh Superintendent of Police, Mayur Patel Kanhaiya Lal, said that an FIR had been registered, and four people had been arrested. The remaining accused were being searched for. However, the SP refused to consider it a case of mob lynching since no one died.

30-year-old pregnant Rizwana Khatun was beaten and abused by the hospital workers. Her condition deteriorated, and she gave birth to a stillborn child. She was subjected to harassment and denied medical assistance because she was a Muslim. Raju Ansari of Ramgarh district was lynched because he was identified as a Muslim. Nasim Khan, a vegetable vendor in Jamshedpur, was stopped from selling vegetables when a group of men learned about his religious identity.

One thing was common amongst all three: they were abhorred for being Muslim and accused of spreading the coronavirus in India. Interestingly, there is not even a single coronavirus case in Jamshedpur and Ramgarh districts.

A Vendor Disallowed From Setting Shop Because He Was A Muslim

On April 22, a vegetable vendor named Naseem Khan set up his shop in the vegetable market near the Ghodabandha residence of Union Minister Arjun Munda. According to Naseem, a group of young men, including Ashish Paul, came and asked his name. As soon as the vegetable seller said Naseem Khan, they started threatening him and removing everything. They accused him of spreading the virus and threatened to kill him if he set up his shop there in the future.

Shortly after the incident, the victim reached the Govindpur police station in the area to lodge an FIR. Naseem said that, “I used to earn some money by running my tempo before the lockdown. During the lockdown, the tempo stopped running. So did my income; I set up a shop and started selling vegetables in the vegetable market near Union Minister Arjun Munda’s residence since the past 10 days.

All three cases highlight violence against a particular community. Today, there are innumerable cases across India in which poor Muslims are being accused of spreading the coronavirus by propagating Islamophobia and ‘polluting’ the clean social environment.

You must be to comment.

More from MOHAMMAD SARTAJ ALAM

Similar Posts

By Soumita Sen

By Accountability Initiative

By Sajad Rasool

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below