Socialist India

International Socialist Alternative
Justice for Mohammad Saad and other victims of Bajrang Dal

22-year-old Mohammad Saad, Naib Imam of Anjuman Jama Masjid, was sleeping around midnight on the day of the Gurgaon riots. His plan for the day, according to his brother, was to wake up early, recite his morning prayers and return to their village in Bihar on an early train. In the middle of the night, the masjid where he had been sleeping for the last 6 months was stormed by 100 Bajrang Dal and VHP rioters who set his spiritual and physical home on fire and stabbed him to death. How and why did this happen?

The communal violence in Haryana did not start with the VHP/Bajrang Dal march in Nuh. An intent to instigate communal violence was affirmatively declared after the brutal murder of Abdul Kabir, Asgar Kai, Tikaram Meena, and a fourth unidentified victim on the Jaipur-Mumbai Express. Bajrang Dal member Monu Mansar, an infamous cow vigilante booked earlier this year for the murder of two young Muslim men in Rajasthan, had claimed he would be joining the march. Bittu Bajrangi, another Bajrang Dal figure and cow vigilante, made a video in which he proclaimed that Manesar would be coming to the “Yatra”, and included other coded language indicating he planned a riot. Now these hatemongering rioters under the guise of performing a “pilgrimage”, have killed another five: two home guards Neeraj and Gursevak, a person named Shakti, an unidentified person, and Saad. It should be noted in addition that the “Brij Mandal Jalabhishek Yatra” was invented in 2020 so that they could deliberately invade a Muslim-majority neighborhood to harass and intimidate the residents.
Rather than condemn the clearly provocative actions and violence of the Hindutva mobs, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar blamed it on a conspiracy to attack the yatra, declaring in a clear partisan stance that “no rioters will be spared.” Indeed, a conspiracy was present, but it’s quite clear that the Bajrang Dal intended to provoke violence in Nuh with the yatra, not the other way around. Meanwhile nowhere has he mentioned that Bittu Bajrangi already has a record of terrorizing Haryanvi Muslims as in the case of Jamat Ali last month.
This latest violence in Haryana as well as in Manipur is just another page in a long story. The BJP has a history of turning a blind eye to communal violence against Muslims and Adivasis for decades while organizations like VHP and BD continue to terrorize. Trying to exploit the violence it has itself orchestrated, including the violent reaction from a layer of Muslim youth, the VHP has now appealed for countrywide protests against what it calls the “riots” against “Hindu devotees” in Haryana. Urgent action is required to counter the spread of divisive communal politics and to defend all vulnerable communities, including by arresting the Hindutva leaders of Monday’s rampage in Nuh. It is abundantly clear, however, that we cannot rely on the complicit ruling establishment for this to happen – on top of fueling the VHP and BD’s narrative, local authorities have used what happened to clamp down on social media and restrict people’s means of expression, by imposing section 144 in the district.
Grassroots defense committees involving people from all faiths could help prevent new communal episodes, and defend democratic rights. They could also serve as a basis for launching a much-needed united campaign to improve the conditions of living for all, supplanting in this way the communal agenda which the BJP and the capitalist interests it represents fundamentally profits from. Join International Socialist Alternative if you agree with us.