What killed Azeem and the scuffle of narratives

Photo: Salim Shafi

Nahas Mala

There is a narrative that is going rounds claiming that the incident of killing of an eight-year-old Muslim boy in Delhi is not to be labelled as mob lynching. A group of four children of one colony under 18 age attacked the children of a neighbouring colony and it is seen as a fight between children and nothing beyond. This happens to be the opinion of mainstream journalists in Delhi, and it appears that they are the ones who will certify if it is an Anti-Muslim hate crime or mob lynching.

The common response is that there is no significance going behind who committed the crime as it will give fodder to ‘communal’ discourse of RSS. But it remains to be seen how not claiming the Muslim angle to the incident is what RSS would want. Even the Congress or the AAP party members or MLA’s and MP’s have not raised voice against this ghastly act of terror. The mainstream political organisations argue that even if they raise Muslim question, BJP will rise to power regardless. Elaborating this argument into the praxis, they continue to request Muslims to cast their votes to Congress and continue the same pattern of voting and it has become a secular burden of Muslim to vote for Congress in order to prevent BJP. Be it secularism or any other ideology, it has always kept Muslims on the opposite side. Even the activists here have a notion wherein they consider it as Muslim versus Others and not Muslim versus Hindu.

Those who say that the ‘minority and majority communalism’ are two sides of the same coin, ask why we turn Azeem’s incident into a ‘communal’ issue. There have been actions taken to confiscate the land where the Mosque and Madrasa were situated. Even when the children who committed the crime was caught, the locals together aided them to go free. No case was taken until the CCTV evidence clearly showed the children attacking. The Non-Muslim locals coming into the mosque premises, throwing bottles of drinks and burning crackers while the Friday prayer (Jumua) takes places are all sort of activities that are regularly committed in and around the mosque. The Muslims in the mosques have a different opinion, they say the teachings of Islam ask us to practice brotherhood, and they are our brothers. But since the other side doesn’t have such a teaching about Muslims, the Muslims always end up on the receiving side. One cannot imagine the situation of the boy’s two brothers. There are people who want the Muslims to flee away, which means those many ‘potential terrorists’ have gone. This is the basic thought of the people around there. And we also have a Supreme Court, that has questioned why Muslims need a mosque to pray.

That case of the brutal murder of Afrazul Khan and the lack of mainstream outrage against his killer is another symptom of the widespread acceptance that Muslims need to be erased from this land. From The Prime Minister who gave full aid to the mass genocide of Muslims in Gujarat to the chief minister who openly stated the need to rape corpses of Muslim women, we have leaders baying for the blood of Muslim community. One only talks of Akhlaq’s murder when we look into Dadri, but there have been more than 24 Muslim families who have migrated and the houses are locked. The gravity of the single incident is so high, the aftermath of it irreversible. The problems in Dadri didn’t fade away with Akhlaq, but it prevails even now with his brother Jaan Muhammed and Son Sarthaj, who at present live in some other place.

One of the main drawback of Muslim organizations are they believe in charity, if a problem arises in one place they will help the Muslims migrate to another place and build a home there. The question of justice is left unanswered. Muslims should have the realisation they are been killed for their identity.

In the past, in order to maintain the national hegemonic order, anti-Muslim sentiments found its best expression during the creation of Pakistan, the external other. At present Muslims are the domestic enemies of India. Otherwise one has to fit into the category of a “Good Muslim” the best example of which is Ghulam Nabi Assad. But he too stated how his Hindu friends dont offer to invite him to programs and are afraid to do so. In Wilhelm Reich’s book, ‘The Mass Psychology of Fascism’, he states there isn’t a mob just as such who hates an identity. It isn’t the sort of mindset where one feels like questioning a drunkard when it comes to Muslims, but when they question a Muslim they want to assert how they are a citizen of the country and they have it engraved in their minds.

Nahas Mala in his visit to the grave of late Muhammed Azeem in Mewat

Nahas Mala is the national president of Students Islamic Organisation of India

Originally published in the Keyboard Journal in Malayalam

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