Haryana: At Second 'Hindu Mahapanchayat' For Monu Manesar, Calls for Anti-Muslim Violence

'This is a conspiracy by Rajasthan Police against Monu Manesar. We are ready to take lives and give our lives for Monu Manesar.'

Hathin (Haryana): A second ‘Hindu Mahapanchayat’, called by members of the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad at Hathin in Haryana on February 22, in support of cow vigilante Monu Manesar, saw open calls for violence against Muslims and police who try to take action against Monu.

The Hathin event was attended by more than 400 members and leaders of the Bajrang Dal, VHP and Hindu Sena from across north India. It was also attended by locals. 

The first such ‘Hindu Mahapanchayat’ was held in the Manesar town of Haryana on Tuesday, February 21. In it, speakers warned police against acting against Monu, a Bajrang Dal leader and member of the Haryana cow protection task force. Monu is named in an FIR on the brutal killing of Junaid and Nasir, two Muslim men who cow vigilantes allegedly set ablaze after accusing them of illegally transporting cows.

Shortly after this ‘Hindu Mahapanchayat’ ended, Rajasthan Police released a new list of eight ‘wanted’ persons in this case along with their photographs. The names and photos of Monu Manesar and Lokesh Singhla were missing from the list, even though they have not been arrested yet. Bharatpur Police (in Rajasthan) has claimed that investigations are still on against Monu and Lokesh.

“The news which is being circulated is misleading, we have also clarified it through Twitter and Facebook. He is still wanted,” Bharatpur SP Shyam Singh told The Wire.

In the first ‘Mahapanchayat’, speakers had also threatened to block the highway if Monu – who has been linked to more than one incident of cow vigilantes killing Muslim men after raising cow transporting accusations – is arrested.

A speaker at the Wednesday ‘Mahapanchayat’ identified as Bajrang Dal leader Aastha Maa said, “If a Muslim man as much as looks at a Hindu daughter or sister, a skewer will be driven into his eyes.”

Aastha Maa also began her speech with the line, “Yes, Bajrang Dal and VHP workers are indeed gundas [gangsters].”

Bajrang Dal leader Aastha Maa delivers her speech at the Hindu Mahapanchayat in Hathin. Photo: Yaqut Ali/The Wire

Speakers enthused the crowds to participate in chants that went, “We are Hindus and Hindustan is ours.”

A large number of young men were seen filming the event. Some told The Wire that they wanted to share the speeches with others through social media. 

One Prateek Sharma told this reporter that he didn’t know about the details of the Junaid-Nasir case.

“We don’t know about the case, but we are here to support Monu Manesar,” Prateek said. He was at the event with his friend, Rahul Pandit.

Prateek then revealed that he did know some details of the case and made a declaration.

“This is a conspiracy by Rajasthan’s Police against Monu Manesar. We are ready to take lives and give our lives for Monu Manesar,” he added.

When asked about whether the speakers calling for Muslim genocide were flouting the law, Prateek said, “We have no problem with Haryana Police. They are with us.”

Another participant told The Wire that those who arrest cow vigilantes should be shot.

Yet another participant asked this reporter to stop recording, in spite of the large number of people recording the event.

One of the speakers, Acharya Azad, who is also the vice-president of the Haryana wing of the ‘Gau Raksha Dal’ called for bulldozers. Recently, bulldozers have been used in anti-encroachment drives in several Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states. Many have alleged that such drives have targeted Muslims and the poor.

“I request Haryana CM [Manohar Lal] Khattar to learn from Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and bring bulldozers to the houses of cow smugglers. Drive the bulldozers through their houses,” he said. Loud applause followed his words.

Ved Nagar, who is the national president of the ‘Gau Raksha Dal’, added, “I want to tell Haryana Police to take training from UP’s DGP and bring the UP model here too.”

Meanwhile, the picture in Ghatmeeka, Rajasthan, was in sharp contrast. This is the village Junaid and Nasir were residents of. Villagers have been out on the streets asking for justice for the two for a week now.

“We want Bajrang Dal to be banned in India so that Muslims can live safely in the country, and all accused to be arrested by Rajasthan Police,” Wasim Akram, one of the protestors, told The Wire. He added that they have been protesting since February 17.

Edited by Soumashree Sarkar.