With several BJP leaders, including the Union minister of state for HRD in attendance, there were threats of “final battle” against Muslims, who were equated to “demons” and “descendants of Ravana”
New Delhi: At a Sangh parivar condolence meeting in Agra for VHP worker Arun Mahaur, who was killed last week by some Muslim youths, warnings were sounded to Muslims of a looming “final battle,” according to a report in The Indian Express.
Five people have been arrested for Mahaur’s murder and the police have said the murder occurred a day after a scuffle between Mahaur and the accused.
About 5,000 people gathered for the event on Sunday, February 28, which was attended by BJP’s MP from Agra and Union minister of state for human resource development Ram Shankar Katheria, BJP’s Fatehpur Sikri MP Babu Lal, party MLAs, VHP and Bajrang Dal leaders.
“All preparations” had been made to seek “revenge” before the 13th-day death rituals for Mahuar, the speakers said.
VHP district secretary Ashok Lavania, who has been jailed before for assaulting Muslims, said that “human skulls will be offered for his [Mahaur’s] martyrdom”. “The sacrifice of my brother will not go in vain. … The revenge of the killing of one brother demands killing of ten demons.”
In response, the charged crowded chanted “Jis Hindu ka khoon na khaule, who khoon nahi who paani hai” (If a Hindu’s blood doesn’t boil, that is not blood but water).
The Indian Express reports that Lavania went on to talk about the “action” that was planned. “Many have approached me asking why we are not doing anything. They are saying do something — arson, murder, shootout. These are common Hindus. We are avoiding this because the organisation (VHP/RSS) is careful about not being held responsible… ultimately it becomes an act of the society. Once people are galvanised, no question would be raised at all. In cases like Ram Janmbhoomi, Muzaffarnagar, the party had disappeared. But it is certain that revenge will be taken before the [thirteen day period] is over”.
Babu Lal echoed Lavania’s provocative comments. “Don’t try to test us… We will not tolerate insults to the community. We do not want unrest at any cost, but if you want to test Hindus, then let’s decide a date and take on Muslims.”
Katheria demanded that Mahaur’s killers be hanged, saying that his ministership would not get in the way and that his “hands are not tied”. “We have to be strong now”, a Dainik Bhaskar report has quoted him as saying. “We have to wage a war. If we don’t do this now, we will lose another partner tomorrow”.
Meanwhile, VHP and RSS activist Sadhvi Prachi blamed UP minister Azam Khan for the “murder of Hindus”. “Hindus are being murdered at the signal of minister Azam Khan. The government is protecting those responsible. It is time for all Hindus to come together and avenge these murders”, a Dainik Jagran report has quoted her as saying.
According to The Indian Express report, local BJP leader Kundanika Sharma called other parties “jackals” for seeking the votes of “traitors”. “But we want the heads of these traitors, the killers of Arun Mahaur,” she said. “This is not the time to sit quiet. Raid them, wear burqas, but corner them. Behead ten heads for one head”.
VHP General Secretary Surendra Jain warned the administration not to turn “Agra into Muzaffarnagar”. Jain asked members to form Gau Raksha Samitis (cow protection units) in every village, saying that the administration should “not thwart their efforts as they are doing the administration’s work”. “If anyone, even the IG here, has any doubt about the law, they can approach me. I will show them the clauses of the IPC that say if you (police) do not perform your duty then common citizens can take law in their own hands”.
Jain also warned the administration that the ‘Hindu community’ was angry and may react at any moment: “… the Hindu community won’t keep quiet. This movement has become a movement of the Hindu community. … People of different groups are reacting in a different manner. The reaction of these groups cannot be predicted today. The government must assure that UP does not have an inch of land for cow-slaughterers. Those who want to kill cows can go to Bangladesh or Pakistan. If the government gives such kind of assurance, then the anger of society might subside. At present, the Hindu society is angry and only the community will decide its reaction.”
Bajrang Dal district coordinator referred to Muslims as ‘descendants of Ravana’, saying: If you want to live in India, live like Rahim and Rehman. If you try to be Akbar and Babar, we will raze your homes. We are the descendants of Rama. We will destroy the descendants of Ravana”.
Katheria not shy of playing ‘Hindu card’
Katheria has had a history of making provocative statements against Muslims. In January 2015, a video recording of his went viral in which he is threatening the Agra police that he would mobilise “50,000 Hindus” to counter the presence of Muslims on the streets during a religious event.
Ironically, the explanation the minister put out via an aide only strengthened the perception of the MP playing communal politics. “The minister had said this when the police expressed their helplessness over taking action against a crowd of 10,000 people. He did not say anything objectionable, but only stated that one should not think Hindus to be weak,” Sharad Chauhan, spokesperson of Katheria told the Times of India.