By Arré Bench Apr. 22, 2020
UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered officials to keep the arrested members of Tablighi Jamaat, suspected of being coronavirus positive, in temporary jails. This comes a day after Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi’s comments that India is “heaven” for Muslims.
While efforts are still on to flatten the Covid-19 curve, India might be among the first countries in the world to jail the victims of a virus. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered officials to keep the arrested members of the Delhi mosque event, suspected of being coronavirus positive, in temporary jails.
Keep Arrested Delhi Mosque Attendees In Temporary Jails: Yogi Adityanath https://t.co/itZP4E1y7L
— NDTV News feed (@ndtvfeed) April 21, 2020
“The chief minister has instructed to keep them in temporary jail and not in regular ones. As many as 23 temporary jails have been set up in the state, and testing of inmates is being done,” Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi said in a statement. Awasthi added that Adityanath has directed officials to ensure essential items are supplied without any interruptions during the holy month of Ramzan.
— scroll.in (@scroll_in) April 22, 2020
In Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh Police had arrested 30 people including a professor and 16 members of the Tablighi Jamaat from Indonesia and Thailand. Police said that the foreigners were charged with violating visa norms and failing to adhere to the Epidemic Act by not declaring the fact that they attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Delhi’s Nizamuddin last month.
— Hindustan Times (@htTweets) April 21, 2020
The development comes in wake of Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi’s comments that India is “heaven” for Muslims, after an expert body established by OIC has alleged that “Islamophobia” is on the rise in India.
Days after an expert body established by OIC alleged that “Islamophobia” is on the rise in India, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Tuesday said that the country is “heaven” for Muslims as their religious rights are secure.https://t.co/QsoE4TMpzj
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) April 21, 2020
A number of Muslim journalists as well as student leaders have been booked under the draconian UAPA in the last 24 hours, for allegedly inciting Delhi riots.
A list of those booked under #UAPA in the last 24 hours
1) Masrat Zahra, Journalist
2) Peerzada Ashiq, Journalist
3) Gowhar Geelani, Journalist
4) Meeran Haider, Student, Jamia
5) Safoora Zargar, Student, Jamia
6) Umar Khalid, Student Leader, JNU@pressfreedom @hrw @UN
— Raksha Kumar (@Raksha_Kumar) April 21, 2020
BJP leaders Anurag Thakur and Kapil Mishra, ABVP activist Komal Sharma who participated in the JNU violence, and Jamia shooter Kapil Gujjar are all free, in spite of video evidence of them giving provocative speeches or indulging in violence. But the likes of Sharjeel Imam, Dr Kafeel Khan, and now Umar Khalid have been booked, drawing sharp criticism that they’re being targeted for being Muslims.
❌ Anurag Thakur : No Arrest, No FIR
❌ Kapil Mishra : No Arrest, No FIR
❌ Komal Sharma: No Arrest, No FIR
❌ Kapil Gujjar : Arrested, out on Bail
But Sharjeel, Kafeel, Najumunnisa were all arrested. And now Umar Khalid & Jamia students booked.
Crime doesn't matter. Name does.
— Srivatsa (@srivatsayb) April 21, 2020
Whether it is the targeting of the Tablighi Jamaat event by a certain section of the media as “Corona jihad” or “Bio jihad”, or the avalanche of fake news demonising Muslims, or the communalising of the Palghar lynching incident, or the state action against journalists and Jamia students, or now, the housing of victims of the coronavirus in temporary jails, the anti-Muslim sentiment in the country has accelerated dramatically over the course of this pandemic.
As argued by Siddharth Varadarajan in a New York Times piece, the coronavirus outbreak has allowed authoritarianism and anti-Muslim sentiment to flourish.
“We mentioned Mr. Adityanath in our report because the Tablighi Jamat infections were being exploited by the Islamophobic establishment and its spear-carriers to generate hostility against Muslims.”
Writes @svaradarajan in The New York Times. https://t.co/qJZUELgFfS
— Arfa Khanum Sherwani (@khanumarfa) April 21, 2020
India is not only facing a deadly coronavirus pandemic, but it is also having to deal with the virus of communal bigotry that has the potential to strike at the heart of the secular credentials of Indian society.