India has seen religious sectarianism several times in the past from all sides of the religious divide; but, something that we are observing now is unprecedented. It is like the start of religious pandemic which is going to engulf the country sooner or later.
Just last week Madras high court ruled against any ban on the local Chariot festival to be conducted by the minority Hindu community in Perambalur district. The ruling is not so much important as the background of the case itself.
Perambalur district is small district in Tamil Nadu. This is not Muslim dominated. There are only around 6% Muslims there. There is a Muslim dominated locality at V Kalathur where Hindus had been organizing Chariot Festival every year till 2011. The Local muslims who are in Majority in the locality, had been objecting to the processing stating that the festival was against their religious sensibilities. The tension has been going on and the local administration had put lot of restrictions on the 3 day chariot festival since 2012. Last year, the Muslim community group objected to the procession in any form or fashion and in order to manage the situation, the local administration conducted a peace meeting between the local community leaders. After reaching no consensus in those meetings, the local administration imposed more restrictions on the festival against which the local Hindu group filed a petition in the High Court. The High Court finally ruled, that any form of restriction to such religious festivals were un acceptable
The High court ruling is least of importance
When I look at the entire history of the situation, the high court ruling is the least of importance. The question is how is it that in India there is a place where a group of people are stopped from celebrating their festival – be it Hindu, Muslim, Christian or any other faith. I tried to find if there are any such other instances in the country and I was shocked and surprised to find that this is not the first instance. There are several pockets in the country where Hindus have no freedom to anything. I was also shocked to find that Kashmiri pandit exodus had more to do with Muslim fundamentalism than terrorism.
Bengal has a village where Muslim law exists and no one is allowed to watch TV, watch music or video on phone and even touch any alcohol. There are hefty fines for each of these activities and this has to be followed by everyone in that village – be it of any faith4. Kerala has the village which runs on Shariat law and Muslim youth have been visiting ISIS from this village3. In Pumjab, just as late las last week, on the eve of Eid, the government declared Malerkotla as a district because this was a muslim dominated area of Sangrur District5
The problem is Us
if anyone thinks, that Muslims are problem or the religious mullas are a problem, they are smoking weed. Think about the fact that in a country which has completely secular constitution, where we had Muslim Presidents, Vice Presidents and Chief Justice, if 6% Muslim population in a district start raising objection to a Hindu festival; what has governments and administrations have been doing to uphold the constitution? The shocking fact is that administration acquiesced to a demand by Muslims and restricted the festival. Should the responsible persons in the administration not be taken to task and punished for un-constitutional directives? How can the majority Hindu not see that this is the start of something which will expand like a virus and engulf their entire surrounding. Why the majority Hindu not punish the government in the next election cycle? Why does majority Hindu not take this as an issue in the election and make sure that the political class behaves?
Religious Pandemic growing faster than imagination
In the jungles, outside a tiny village Attikad in Neelambur district in Kerala, an entire settlement has set up to live in the ancient Arabian ambience. They have shunned modernity, taken to sheep and goat rearing, following complete sharia. District administration has put restriction on outsiders going there and publishing reports from there. Intelligence agencies are investigating their links to ISIS and their funding from outside.
It is no surprise that Prophet’s life and times are being replicated in India because this is the land where there is enough freedom to chose any faith and replicate un-hindered – in fact – supported by the local government and also at several times against the comforts of local majority Hindus.
Kerala government passed a law in 2018 giving individuals the right to be government by Muslim Personal law irrespective of their religious belief. Such callous government attitude towards social modernity is leading to emboldened religious fanaticism.
If we look at the Population demographics of the country, Assam, West Bengal and Kerala are three Hindu Majority states which have more than 20% Muslim population and there are two states where Muslims are Majority – J&K and Lakshdweep. If we look at the population growth rates between the last two published census data between 2001 and 2011, we find that the largest Muslim population growth has come from what are border states of Assam, Meghalaya, West Bengal, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and J&K. The lowest growth rates of Muslim, while still higher than that of the Hindus, are in the south. Tamil Nadu recording the lowest with 13.7 per cent followed by Kerala (15.9), Andhra Pradesh ( 17.9) and Karnataka (23). This is alarming on two accounts.
The bordering states are seeing a huge influx of refugees getting in to mainstream and getting counted as citizens. This is changing the demographics of bordering states drastically. The dynamics of electoral politics is such that there is a network of agents right from the lowest level to the highest levels which involves local MLA and MP who run the ID scam where these people start getting series of documents from one after the other and finally get the passport.
“In overall Assam, the total Hindu population growth rate is 13% whereas the Muslim population growth rate is above 29%. The growth at which Muslims are increasing is about 2.5 times that of the Hindu growth rate. Its nothing but a silent demographic invasion going on Assam. In 2004 Shri Prakash Jaiswal, Minister of state of home affairs has said that there are alone 50 lakh illegal Bangladeshi Infiltrators in Assam only out of a total of 2.61 lakh Assam population. this means that out of every 5 inhabitants of Assam 1 is an illegal infiltrator.” 6
33% of Assam districts are Muslim majority districts in Assam as per 2011 census and the overall population has been steadily increasing at an alarming rate.
It is just another 10 to 15 years and Assam is going to become a Muslim Majority state with a bordering Muslim country which can be used by any of our adversaries to foment problems and weaken our nation.
Assam is just and Example
The country Muslims count for 20 per cent or more in 86 of its 675 districts. The 86 include 19 with a Muslim population over 50 per cent, 10 of these in Jammu and Kashmir and 6 in Assam 3 in Bengal. It will be worthwhile to look at the historical growth trend in these districts. However, taking the example of steady increase in Assam, the problem of Muslim majority districts in 20 years from now is a real possibility.
NRC is an immediate need
We need to do a baseline of who is in and who is out of the citizenship gambit. It can not be kept an open ended mystery.
Digitization and strong process for document creation should be enforced.
Strong punishment and final deportation should be strictly enforced