The violence in Bangladesh against the Hindu minority community during the Durga Puja festival has once again pushed to the forefront the vision of the Indian Hindu-right wing with regards to who are citizens of India and who are the outsiders. Post the violence in Bangladesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP), Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and other Hindutva outfits have been protesting against the cruel treatment of Hindus in Bangladesh, with BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya claiming that the violence was part of an ethnic cleansing plan by the Muslim majority in Bangladesh to rid the countries of Hindus. One has to pay attention to the nature of the protests and what are the demands being raised by the Hindu outfits in India and also what are the consequences faced by the minority Muslim community in India.
The main demand of the protests taking place in India is for the Bangladesh government to take strict action against those responsible for the violence during the Durga Puja ceremony. While this seems to be projected as the main demand, other narratives emerge from these protests that reflect how this anger is being used to strengthen the Hindutva cause in India. With conversations about the necessity of the Citizenship Amendment Act(CAA) being raised in West Bengal, by highlighting the conditions faced by Hindus outside of India. It is a cruel comedy that the same levels of violence that has been inflicted by these Hindutva outfits in the context of India seems to be buried and a characteristic of benevolence is bestowed upon the majority Hindu community in India while being compared to the majority communities of other countries. We only have to look at the case of violence that took place in Tripura as part of demonstration condemning the violence in Bangladesh to see how hypocrisy in the stance of the Hindu Right-wing and the violence faced by religious minorities in India. With mosques, shops and houses belonging to Muslims being vandalised, two points are made very clear, the inherent hypocrisy of the Hindu Right-wing which condemns violence against minorities in other countries but is extremely efficient in carrying out the same and second, that the Indian Muslim has always been considered a foreigner and still will be by those who hold power today and the majoritarian ideology they espouse.
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Why must the Muslim in India be held responsible and face the anger of the mob due to an incident which has nothing to do with them? Why should the Hindu Right-wing bring up the discourse of CAA? Why does the Ministry of External Affairs of India reach out to the Bangladeshi government to keep a check on the situation, while within India no condemnation has ever come from the government in power against the violence faced by the minorities, with the public only being aware of instances which are reported? This is a clear declaration of intent from the State and its supporters, an intent which has never been kept secret, about the importance it gives to the citizenship of Muslims. An outsider in their homes, being watchful of their steps in a toxic setting which many times does not even need an excuse to unleash violence, the identity alone is sufficient.
Author is pursuing his MA in Women’s Studies from TISS – Mumbai. Views are personal.