‘Ajju Hindustani’, a leader of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, who had declared prize money of 11,000 rupees to “catch” members of Tablighi Jamaat, passed away due to Covid-19. His mother and sister also passed away due to COIVD-19.
Hindu Yuva Vahini is a right-wing Hindu organization founded by Yogi Adityanath, which operates outside of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, as his personal force.
Ajju Hindustani or Ajay Srivastav was a member of the Hindu Yuva Vahini and was one of Yogi’s favorite members. He was locally known as ‘Yogi’s Hanuman’.
The Tablighi Jamaat meeting took place in mid-March much before COVID19 lockdown or COVID scare was there. Even after the organisers of the meeting informed the Delhi government about their situation during the lockdown, no action was taken. But the media blew the news when the Modi government was getting lot go flak for its harsh lockdown and migrant crisis.
In Tablighi Jamaat, the media got a perfect villain to cover up all the central government´s failure. What followed was a massive coordinated attempt supported by law enforcement and media narratives to blame and demonize Muslims for the spread of the Coronavirus. This was at a time when the government had not enforced any rules to deal with the pandemic and international flights were still being allowed.
A number of fake news items were run, about how Muslims were demanding biryani in hospitals, harassing nurses, and making obscene gestures and spitting, that they were terrorists, and so on and so forth. All of these news items were debunked.
Ajju Hindustani was one of the most vocal leaders of this communal campaign and claimed that Muslims, be it Tablighi Jamaat attendees or Rohingya refugees, had created a plot to spread the disease.
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Not only had he announced a reward of 11,000 rupees for anyone who could give the Hindu Yuva Vahini any information regarding Tablighi Jamaat attendees, but he also claimed that havans and pujas will curb the spread of Covid-19 and the ghee used in puja will cure the disease.
After Ajju was found to be COVID positive on July 19, he also conducted one of these pujas for himself. Well, the ritual did not work, and he passed away on July 30th. Unfortunately, his mother and sister also passed away due to Covid-19, and various other members of his family also got infected by the virus as well.
It is important to recognize the inequality of narratives about a Muslim gathering that took place much before any lockdown versus the numerous pujas, establishment of temples, and so on that have been conducted even as the numbers of COVID infections and deaths are on the rise. As we see some of the biggest promoters of violent Islamophobic rhetoric contract the disease one by one, it is becoming clear that this is a disease that is not the responsibility of the oppressed communities of the country.