Muslim Ummah– gone with the wind?

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  • The Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi has been targeted by Hindu extremists

Like it or not, another Babri Mosque episode is in the making. The Gyanvapi mosque in the Varanasi area of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is very soon going to be converted into a temple; certainly this action of the BJP government would also be admired and appreciated rather awarded by the leaders of our so-called ‘Muslim Ummah’.

According to the details provided by the Indian media, Ptime Minister Narendra Modi had promised to reconstruct an old temple, Kashi Vishwanath, when he was addressing a political session in Varanasi (old name Benares) on the eve of filing nomination papers for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Situated along the River Ganges, Varanasi is regarded as the spiritual capital of India. Every year thousands of Hindu pilgrims come to this city to have a sacred bath in the Ganges. There are more than 2,000 temples in Varanasi; Kashi Vishwanath is the central one. Gyanvapi is a very ancient mosque situated adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath temple. This mosque is a serious hurdle in the extension project of the Kashi Vishwanath temple. This mosque was built by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb somewhere in 1664. This area is in the constituency of Mr. Modi and he has directed Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister, to work as the caretaker of the project.

The Hindu extremists are eager to repeat the history of the Babri Mosque in Varanasi. Unfortunately the Muslims there are in such a weak position that they would not be able to resist this expected brutality. More unfortunate is the fact that the so-called Muslim Ummah would remain as deaf and dumb as it had been in case of the Indian atrocities in the Indian Held Kashmir

Yogi Adityanath, an extremist Hindu monk, is the founder of Hindu Yuva Vahini, a youth organization that has been involved in communal violence. In June 2017, an article of Dhirendra K Jha was published in Aljazeera which said, “Although Yuva Vahini was registered as a cultural organization, the HYV worked like a Hindu nationalist militia, trying to create a fear of minorities– especially Muslims– among the majority Hindus. Its preferred tactic was to frame every argument and altercation between a Hindu and Muslim in religious terms and turn it into a mini-sectarian riot.” This organization, headed by Yogi Adityanath, has always remained engaged in a campaign to forcibly convert Muslims to Hinduism.

Reports say that in January 2015 the Vahini men forced nearly 300 local Muslims of Ghazipur village in eastern Uttar Pradesh to convert to Hinduism under the guidance of Yogi Adityanath. In February 2015, more than 80 Muslims of Bhibani village in Kushinagar were forcibly converted to Hinduism. Now the same Yogi Adityanath has been assigned the task of demolishing the Gyanvapi mosque. The work there is in process; the aimed target is to clear up an area of 45000 meters and make 50 foot-wide pathways available for the pilgrims. This area consists of more than 300 houses which are home to more than 1000 families. The Gyanvapi mosque is also one of the buildings supposed to be demolished. The people living in this area belong to a very poor class, doing odd jobs to keep themselves alive. They have no power or force to stop the Hindu extremists from throwing them out of their houses with all their bag and baggage.

The members of Yuva Vahini say that the Emperor Aurangzeb had demolished a temple to build this mosque; now the scenario is being changed to its original. To prove their stance some Hindu extremist activists had attempted to bury an idol of a bull to claim that the mosque site was a Hindu site. Maulana Abdul Salam Nomani had been the Imam of the Gyanvapi mosque before his death in 1987. He had flatly rejected the accusation of Hindu extremists that the mosque was built after destroying a temple. According to him, the foundation of the mosque was laid by the third Mughal emperor Akbar, and Akbar’s grandson and Aurangzeb’s father Shah Jahan started a madrasah called Imam-e-Sharifat at the site of the mosque in 1638. He said that the mosque never had anything to do with any temple. In fact this is the same story which was narrated by the Hindu extremists in case of the Babri mosque.

The conflict on the Gyanvapi mosque is not a new one; for the last many decades Hindu groups have been continuously claiming rights to the land of the Gyanvapi mosque. There had been serious disputes on this issue many times. In 1936, after disputes with the Hindu residents of the area, the local Muslim community filed a suit in the civil court of then Benares. In 1937, the court decided in favour of the Muslims and allowed them to offer prayers in the mosque as they desired. In 1991, the government of Narasimha Rao passed ‘The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act’ which stated that all religious sites would be maintained as they were on 15 August 1947. Even after approval and implementation of this Act, Somnath Vyas; an activist of RSS, filed a case in a Varanasi civil court demanding that the mosque site be handed over to the Kashi Vishwanath temple. The tragic incident of demolition of the Babri Mosque in 1992 became a hurdle and the matter could not go further. Now things are again in a horrible situation. The Hindu extremists are eager to repeat the history of the Babri Mosque in Varanasi. Unfortunately the Muslims there are in such a weak position that they would not be able to resist this expected brutality. More unfortunate is the fact that the so-called Muslim Ummah would remain as deaf and dumb as it had been in case of the Indian atrocities in the Indian Held Kashmir.