Day After Minorities Minister Labels India “Heaven for Muslims”, UP to Jail Tablighi Jamaat Corona Patients


Day After Minorities Minister Labels India “Heaven for Muslims”, UP to Jail Tablighi Jamaat Corona Patients

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.

“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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.