Bengaluru: A 35-year-old man asks a gathering, "Are there legal grounds under which I can refuse to rent out my house to Muslim?" His question is met with plenty cheer as if he has voiced what exactly the people gathered at the Hindu Rashtra Convention were thinking.
Another person asks, "We have four five Muslims running grocery shops in my area. How can I tell people to stop buying from them?"
The gathering of over 300 people witnessed discussions that reeked of bigotry and violence in the heart of Bengaluru. It was organised by the Hindu Jana Jagruti in the city's Rajajinagar neighbourhood.
The aim of the convention, according to the organisers, is a simple one - a plan towards turning India into a 'Hindu Rashtra'.
"They are taking over our country like a disease. For one Hindu child, there are five Muslim children. Yet Muslims are the minority. That is why we have organised this meeting to make people aware that we need a Hindu rashtra," says Mohan Gowda, Karnataka spokesperson of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, the organiser. When asked what does he mean by Hindu Rashtra, Gowda smiles and says, "Is it not obvious? Where there are only Hindus"
The event was organised at a local civic body run community hall in Rajaji Nagar where doctors, students, housewives, lawyers all nodded in agreement as speakers explained the terms such as 'Land Jihad, 'Economic Jihad', Love Jihad', and discussed why loudspeakers should be banned or why India needs to become a country for Hindus.
Speaking about loudspeakers in mosques, Shreelaxmi Rajkumar says, "Their loudspeakers are disturbing the peace of society. They are disturbing me, my right to practice Hinduism and my prayers. They should be praying without disturbing others."
Immediately after, there are loud chants of Bharat Mata Ki Jai amplified by the four loudspeakers in the room.
Rajkumar, a former journalist who now appears in debates on Kannada news channels and routinely makes communal remarks says, "We have let Muslims practice their faith for so many years. They have taken advantage of our kind-heartedness to let them build mosques and pray wherever they want. Now, we politely asked them to remove loudspeakers because it has started troubling Hindus but they want to play the victim card. How are they the victims? We are the ones who are getting troubled". Her speech is met with loud rounds of applause from the audience.
Asking everyone to be like Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister who recently cracked down on loudspeakers in mosques, Rajkumar says, "Our great Prime Minister and other supreme leaders talking about this won't help. We all have to show support and stand together as one unit. If mosques in Karnataka do not remove their loudspeakers in the next 15 days, we have to stand outside and protest till they are forced to do so," she says.
"Hinduism runs in our blood. Let's stand true to it," she adds.
The speakers included Hindutva leaders like Mohan Gowda, state spokesperson for the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, S Bhaskaran, Vishva Sanatan Parishad, GM Nataraj, a Karnataka High Court lawyer.
Lawyer GM Nataraj spoke about how to legally go about protesting against Muslims. He started his speech listing off various noise pollution and environment protection laws in the country; he said that loudspeakers at mosques violate all of those laws. "Muslims counter that they play it only for five minutes. But it is not just a call to prayer. It is a call from mosques for every Muslim to wake up and pray and resolve that they will kill others. When a Hindu hears such a call, they get scared. Hindu families near mosques get palpitations and panic when they hear the azaan playing loudly because they know it is asking Muslims to kill Hindus. Is that not emotional distress and harassment?," Nataraj asks as he is met with a resounding "Yes!" from the crowd.
Nataraj then informs the audience on how they can register an FIR against mosques. "First make a list of all the mosques in each of your areas. Then check how many are in silent zones - that is mosques located 100 meters around hospitals, educational institutions and courts. Take this list and go to the police station and ask them whether the mosques took permission to install loudspeakers. The police will not take you seriously but you have to stand your ground. Be loud and confident and tell them how loudspeakers in mosques violate noise pollution rules. Do not leave the police station till they file an FIR against the mosques in your area. If need be, get the police to the mosque and ask the mosque authorities whether they have permission," he says.
A member from the audience asks, "If they are not allowed to build mosques, then how has the police given them permission to do?"
Nataraj vigorously nods his head and says, "That is the problem. The police are so scared of Muslims like we all are that none of them even ask whether mosques have permission.
At a break for lunch, a group of doctors discuss how to gather young Hindu doctors from medical colleges across the state and look at legal provisions to set up a hospital only for Hindus. "We have to do this in all sectors. Muslims are taking away jobs and money from us. We need young doctors, techies and industrialists who will insist on only hiring Hindus."
Another person, who introduces himself as an software developer in an IT company says, "Our company is headed by a Muslim and he has hired 15 Muslims in the last one month - now a peon to a team lead all are Muslims. We have to ask permission to take a half-day but all of them are allowed to disappear for so-called prayer 5 times a day. How is this fair?" he asks.
After another round of "Jayatu Jayatu Hindu Rashtram" comes S Bhaskaran, president, Vishwa Sanatan Parishad to speak about "land jihad" and how Muslims are "taking over property" from Hindus. "In a locality of 100 Hindus, two Muslim families will live peacefully. That is our big-heartedness that we allow them to do so. But the same does not happen with Hindus in Muslim localities. Hindus are harassed, mentally tortured and forced to live around meat in these localities. Many times, Muslims throw meat carcass and bones in front of Hindu households on festival days just for fun. But even then have the gall to say they are scared to live in India. Is this what a scared person does?" Bhaskaran asks.
Before explaining the term "land jihad" - a term commonly used by right wing groups to describe a "conspiracy" by Muslims to take over neighbhourhoods, he says, "Muslims are like cancer. They slowly take over the workings, economy, and properties of an area. And then spread over the whole city and do the same for a state and country."
He elaborates and says, "In Bengaluru itself there are many Muslim localities. In these areas, Muslims don't let Hindus sell their property or give it out on rent to other Hindus. They force Hindus to sell their property at lower rates. And if Hindus refuse then Muslims throw ink or harass the daughters of Hindus families to scare Hindu families. When Hindu families go to complain, nobody believes them. Police officials and a lot of government officials are involved in land jihad."
He adds that in the current India, Hindus are scared of Muslims but it should be the other way round. "All this talk of all Gods are same and equal is nonsense. If we keep believing that Ram and Rahim are same that Ishwar Allah are one then our country will be in danger. It is happening and we have to stop it."
Bhaskaran goes on to give examples of Islamic countries like Oman and Yemen and claims that when Hindus enter these countries they are thorughly checked at the airport. "If the airport security finds a single photo of a Hindu God, they throw it away in the dustbin. They stomp on it, they spit at photos and idols of our Gods. If they find Hindus having idols of our Gods in our homes, then they arrest Hindus and arrange public stone pelting. That is where the stone pelting ritual comes from and it is the same they are trying to do in India. Soon we will need permission to go to a temple from Muslims."
"Is that the India you want to live in?" he asks the audience.
One member loudly shouts, "Ghar mein ghuske maarenge, ek bhi mulle ko nahi chodenge" (We will enter their homes and beat them, won't spare a single Muslim)." This gets huge applause from the speakers.
KARNATAKA: THE LAB OF HINDUTVA POLITICS
Karnataka, ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, housing the Silicon Valley of India in its capital - Bengaluru has seen a spurt in Hindutva rallies, protests in the last few years. While several districts in the state namely - Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Shimoga - have always been a communal hotbed, the incidents which were restricted to fights between extremist organisations, have now reached college doors and residential areas.
The BJP led Karnataka government passed the anti-conversion bill in December strictly curbing the rights of those looking to convert especially to Christianity. The bill was passed despite widespread attacks on pastors and disruption of prayer meets in districts of Belgaum, Hubbali, Mandya, Dharwad and Kodagu by Hindutva organisations like Sri Ram Sene and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. BOOM reported on pastors in Belgaum district feared for their lives here.
The state has seen rigorous and violent mobilisation by Hindutva groups against minorities; disallowing them to practice their faith. Additonally, the state has also witnessed planned movements against Muslims with temple trusts banning Muslim businessowners from setting up shops and stall during Hindu religious fairs, assaulting Muslim shopkeepers to sell non-halal meat and attacking eateries that sell halal meat.
Udupi district recently saw massive protests over the banning of hijab for female Muslim students in the colleges. What started with one college in Udupi soon spread spread through the state and the court order supporting the ban on the hijab, several Hindutva organisations like the Hindu Jagaran Vedike, Hindu Janajagruti Samithi and Sri Ramsene, Bajrang Dal hailed the same as a win for Hinduism. The hijab row led to protests in areas like Kodagu, Belagavi, Shimoga, Mandya with face offs between Muslim students demanding to wear the hijab and Hindu students wearing saffron scarves in retaliation.
The state also witnessed violent communal riots in Hubbali leaving 12 police personnel injured after Muslims in the area allegedly pelted stones angry over a post of a saffron flag atop a mosque created by a 20-year-old student.
As the state reports repeated and frequent attacks on minorities, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai recently announced that the state would introduce complusory teaching of Bhagavad Gita in schools.
HATE SPEECH AT HINDUTVA CONCLAVES A COMMON OCCURENCE IN THE COUNTRY
In April, a Dharam Sansad was held in Mubarikpur of Una district in Himachal Pradesh where the organisers gave an open call to Hindus to pick up arms in order to protect the Sanatan dharma. The attendees of the religious meet included Yati Narsinghanand, head priest of Dasna Devi temple in Ghaziabad who is out on bail in the Haridwar hate speech case.
In December 2021, Yati Narsinghanand along with several others organised the Haridwar Dharam Sansad where explicit calls for Muslim genocide and a Hindu Rashtra were allegedly made.
The same month, in Delhi, the country's capital the Hindu Yuva Vahini organised a similar event that saw the participation of Sudarshan TV Editor-in-Chief Suresh Chavanke where he allegedly gave a call to "fight, die and kill if required" to protect the Hindus from alleged Muslim domination.
The country has also seen widespread communal riots with stone pelting during processions taken out by Hindutva organisations to mark Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti. In addition to this, fringe outfits have organised rallies shouting Jai Shri Ram and loudly playing the Hanuman Chalisa in front of mosques demanding that a ban on loudspeakers for azan.