Communal colours are spreading fast in our country as even Muslims students are being called “terrorists” during the University General Body Meeting at Hyderabad University. On February 15, the students at the said Hyderabad University alleged that cadres belonging to the Hindutva student outfit ABVP verbally and physically attacked the Muslim students, while calling them “terrorists”. While further details have not been divulged, offensive statements like ‘Muslims are terrorists’ have often been used in the recent times.

This incidents comes as the Kerala High Court spoke in regards to terrorism and opined that, “Terrorism is an evil affecting the life and liberty of people. It affects the growth of the nation in all respects. In fact, no religion propagates terrorism or hatred. But, unfortunately, some fanatics or religious fundamentalists have distorted the views of religion, for spreading messages of terrorism and hatred, without realising the amount of damage it is doing to the society as well as to the country as a whole.

Other instances of stereotypical representation of Muslims

Bombay High Court’s recent order through which the court has directed that no police mock drills are to be conducted depicting persons of a particular community as terrorists. In this case, a Public Interest Litigation was filed before the Bombay High Court’s Aurangabad bench, seeking guidelines on police mock drills and citing three mock drills in which a police constable dressed as a terrorist shouted “Nara-E-Takbeer, Allah-u-Akbar” after being arrested during the drill.

According to LiveLaw, the petitioner, Sayed Usama, alleged in the PIL that the conduct of the aforementioned mock drills, in which a Muslim community is deliberately shown as a ‘terrorist’ by the police authorities and the State, clearly shows their bias against the Muslim community and sends a message that terrorists have a particular religion, and this act of the police amounts to defaming the Muslim community.

The contents of the PIL: The PIL cites three instances of police mock drills – one each in Ahmednagar, Chandrapur, and Aurangabad – in which a police officer acted as a ‘terrorist’, who had ostentatiously dressed in attire most distinctively worn by the men of the Muslim community.  The PIL then provided that a s the drill progressed and when the police authorities apprehended the said terrorist, he was seen shouting “Nara-E-Takbeer, Allah-u-Akbar,” implying that he is a Muslim.

According to the PIL, this demonstrates a significant prejudice prevailing within the police force against the community and is a violation of every person’s constitutionally guaranteed rights in this country– the right to live with dignity, the right not to be discriminated against by the state solely on the basis of religion and race, as is guaranteed under Articles 14, 15, and 21 of the Indian Constitution.

According to the petition, the scripts for all of the aforementioned mock drills have been approved by the respective heads of the police authorities at the District/City level – Superintendent of Police and/or the Commissioner of Police.

the PIL goes on to say that all of the police officers involved in the enactment and animation of the aforementioned mock drill plays suffer from communalism and do not have their beliefs and ethos embedded in the constitutional principles of secularism and pluralism, rendering them unsuitable and inept for discharging their duties as police officers, and it erodes the faith and trust of the Muslim community in them, as was provided by the LiveLaw.

The PIL also contends that such mock drills maligns a specific community and portrays all members of that community as ‘terrorists,’ which is bound to cause friction and strife amongst targeted community.

The PIL requests that the court rule and declare that the practice of portraying terrorists as belonging to a specific community in mock drills conducted by police officials violates the dignity, liberty, and freedom of that community and endangers the nation’s fraternity, integrity, and unity.

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