“January 22, 2024, is not just a date on the calendar. It marks the beginning of a new era,” PM Narendra Modi said in his speech given at the inauguration event of Ayodhya Temple. Multiple incidents have been unfolding since January 22, leading to communal tensions in different parts of India.
As India commemorates Republic Day today, several incidents have dawned a sense of fear, especially among the minorities. Coinciding with the consecration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, a series of incidents of violent attacks and vandalism come into the picture, through the reports and videos shared online.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech at the inauguration event had assertively said, “There was a time when some people claimed that if the Ram Temple (of Ayodhya) is built, it will lead to chaos. Such individuals failed to comprehend the sanctity of Bharat’s social sentiments. The construction of this temple for Ram Lalla signifies the peace, patience, mutual harmony, and coordination of Indian society.”
In contrast to his claim, the visuals surfacing online clearly say otherwise. In his speech originally delivered in Hindi and translated to English by The Print, he also said that the event was not just the consecration of the idol but also of “human values and ultimate ideals” but the burning up of shops and graveyards, vandalizing the properties, brutally assaulting the people of other faiths, calling out mass killing of Muslims, and the violent skirmishes, questions these ‘human values and ultimate ideals’.
Listed below are a few incidents that made their way onto the internet, in the past few days from approximately 9 states and 2 union territories, in line with the celebration over ‘pran prathishta’ of Ayodhya temple, on a site where Babri Masjid was razed. It is to be noted that all the incidents listed below happened between January 21-24, 2024.
Tensions flared up in Telangana as a Muslim-owned shop was burnt down in Sangareddy district by a saffron-clad mob on Monday. The mob can be seen chanting ‘Jai Sri Ram’ and ‘Mullah go to Pakistan’.
In the state’s Narayanpet district, a procession celebrated the Ram Temple consecration by bursting crackers and playing music on a DJ system in front of Madina Masjid in Kosgi town. Some have alleged that the mob also threw sandals into the mosque.
A mob assaulted a man, publicly paraded him naked, and also tried to set his private part on fire in Sangareddy district, in response to his post of a video allegedly insulting the bhagwa (saffron) flag.
A procession celebrating the ceremony set a graveyard on fire in Bihar’s Darbhanga district, which was allegedly due to throwing a firecracker inside that led to the spread of the fire. According to the reports, 12 people have been named in the FIR, and 50-100 unknown individuals, with no arrests made so far.
An influencer from Patna of Bihar was seen abusing ‘Allah and Muslims’ in a reel he shared using derogatory language after the consecration event.
A Hindutva mob reportedly assaulted an Imam at Chattisgarh’s Raipur while the enraged mob can be seen chanting ‘Jai Sri Ram’ and saying ‘Hindustan mei rehna hoga, Jai Sri Ram kehna hoga (To stay in India, say Jai Sri Ram)’.
Most of the incidents are reported from Maharshtra’s Meera Road ranging from looting to vandalism, and assault by the mob of different communities. Right-wing extremists reportedly identify, target and assault Muslims and their vehicles in different parts of the state including, Meera Road, Panvel, Naya Nagar and Bhayander.
Several videos have gone viral on X (Formerly Twitter), and Instagram. One of them shows a youth standing on a two-wheeler waving a firearm during a procession.
While another showed INR 2 Lakh being looted from a Muslim-owned shop. In addition to that, a Muslim woman accused the mob of harassing her, while we can see another Muslim youth being forced to chant Jai Sri Ram by the mob.
Multiple videos showed vehicles being attacked as they passed by the mob from different parts of Meera road on different occasions. https://www.instagram.com/reel/C2cvdoCPCIO/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet
Several videos showed Muslim shops being vandalized by a mob too. In one among those, an old man was seen pleading the mob to stop, as they continued to ransack it.
Two Muslim youngsters were hospitalized after miscreants assaulted them in Navi Mumbai’s Panel, Maharashtra.
A minor and his father were attacked by a mob that was carrying out a rally celebrating the consecration on Tuesday in Mumbai’s Meera Road. The minor remains hospitalized due to severe injuries.
Moreover, Hindu extremists allegedly entered Muslims’ homes carrying out vandalism and physical assault in Maharshtra’s Nagpur.
After clashes broke out in parts of Maharashtra, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) razed down 40 shops on Mohammed Ali Road on Wednesday.
This comes a day after MiraBhayander Municipal Corporation demolished 15 structures of Muslims at Haidary Chowk on Mira Road. No notices were reportedly given to the owners, ahead of the demolition of the “illegal structures to free up space on footpaths”.
Saffron-clad youngsters were seen celebrating in a procession on religious songs in Hapur, Uttar Pradesh. One of them opened fire creating a disturbing atmosphere.
In another video shared online, Hindutva extremists climbed over the gate of a mosque shouting slogans in UP’s Sant Kabir.
In a similar incident, a group was seen attempting to break the door of a mosque in Agra, and hoisting a saffron flag as they climbed atop during a ‘Shobha Yatra’.
Provocative songs were played in front of the Bilal masjid in Jainpur, UP. A video of Islamophobic songs being played by a procession celebrating the Ram Temple event surfaced on social media, reportedly from UP’s capital, Lucknow.
Disturbing incidents were reported from Mirzapur as well, as the members of Hindutva organizations raised slogans during a religious rally.
A video shows Hindutva members reciting Hanuman Chalisa (a Hindu devotional hymn) in front of Jama Masjid, in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore.
Whereas in Jhabua, a group of men chanting ‘Jai Sri Ram’ climbed on top of a church and planted a saffron flag on the cross, just a day before ‘pran pratishtha’ ceremony. However, no complaint was registered.
An FIR has been registered after a few individuals allegedly pelted stones on a Shobha Yatra passing through the Nagina Masjid lane in Vadodara, celebrating the inauguration of the temple.
Jammu & Kashmir
Several individuals were booked for allegedly sharing ‘objectionable content’ on social media related to the consecration of the Ayodhya temple in the twin districts of Rajouri and Reasi.
Tensions escalated in Karnataka’s Kalaburagi after a statue of Dr B R Ambedkar was defaced with a garland of footwear by unidentified miscreants.
Initially, multiple skirmishes took place, between members of two communities over a procession celebrating the inauguration in Wadi town of Kalaburgi. Following the incident, a prohibitory order under section 144 has been imposed in Wadi till 25 January.
In another incident, a minor Dalit was assaulted by a group of right-wing members over a video shared on his WhatsApp status in the Bidar district of Karnataka. The video hailed Dr B R. Ambedkar over Lord Ram, which the assailants took offence over for allegedly “belittling” the deity. The boy was assaulted, and forcefully taken to a local Hanuman temple to offer his respect and to chant Jai Sri Ram.
A 62-year-old Muslim activist was booked under the charge of “inciting riot” for a lone protest against the Babri demolition during the live telecast of the consecration of the Ayodhya temple in Kerala’s Trivandrum.
Celebrating the Ram temple inauguration, a group entered a Muslim area shouting objectionable slogans and scuffled with the residents in Delhi’s Jaitpur. The videos show the group vandalizing the area as well.
Looking at the events through the lens of PM’s speech
Today we see that the celebrations of the consecration of Ayodhya temple were carried out across states, at the expense of instigating more and more violence. Hindutva men have not only recorded and shared photos and videos on social media, but have live-streamed themselves attacking others too.
Apart from all those listed above, even the screening of Anand Patwardhan’s documentary ‘Raam ke Naam’ was interrupted, stopped or attacked altogether in different parts of India, despite it being cleared by the censor board in 1992. In addition to that, there are multiple incidents of hate speech, scuffle, arrests and assault, particularly towards the minorities after the consecration.
PM Modi in his speech at the event had said, “Everyone is our own, everyone is equal. The feelings of belongingness and brotherhood in every Indian will form the foundation of a capable, glorious, and divine Bharat” but the chain of events mentioned above would make one question, ‘If everyone is truly considered equal, why then are the minorities particularly targeted and attacked’?
The PM said, “This magnificent Ram Temple will bear witness to the rise of Bharat, the dawn of Bharat. This grand Ram Temple will bear witness to the prosperity of Bharat, the development of Bharat!”.
But looking at the present situation, what the temple and the whole of India are witnessing raises concerns if the development and prosperity were only for the majority.
The PM was partially right when he said, “We are witnessing that this construction is not causing any fire but, in fact, is giving birth to energy,”. The inauguration did give birth to an energy that has helped the right-wing extremists to carry out the attacks with even more vigour and confidence in their supremacy. The construction of the Ram Temple has boosted the Hindutva extremists to take the law into their hands, while nobody questions or holds them accountable.
“… the nation is creating the genesis of a new history. Even a thousand years from now, people will discuss this date, this moment.”
With the way the incidents are taking place and the atmosphere it has created, it makes us wonder if the history PM Modi was referring to in his speech, is perhaps what is unfolding before our eyes today. What is more concerning is whether will it worsen beyond people’s assumption, and mark this date in history to be discussed ‘even a thousand years from now’.
“This temple is not just a mere shrine; it is the manifestation of Bharat’s vision, philosophy, and insight. It is a temple of national consciousness in the form of Lord Ram,” he said.
However, Bharat’s vision that the constitution upholds is in contradiction to those upheld by the extremists. The constitution does not envision majoritarianism, autocracy, or even a Hindu Rashtra, but rather a democratic and secular nation of harmony and mutual tolerance.
The information presented in this article represents the personal viewpoints of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Observer Post. The article contains facts, analysis, assumptions, and perspectives that are solely the author’s own.