01, Jul 2022 | CJP Team
The attempts by hardline Hindutva groups and right-wing trolls to exploit the Udaipur horror and manipulate people to boycott Muslims and Muslim-owned businesses fell flat, when they went largely ignored by ordinary Indians. While Twitter posts got barely a like, there were less than 50 posts for any hashtag calling for such a communally polarising, and archaic call for excommunication.
On Friday morning, hashtags like ‘Boycott Muslims’ and ‘Boycott Muslim Businesses’ trended on Twitter, creating the impression that communal hatred was rising in the country. In fact tensions have been high ever since the brutal killing of Kanhaiya Lal, a tailor in Udaipur, by two hardline Islamists on June 28. The alleged killers Riyaz and Gos Mohammed claimed they punished Lal for sharing a post in support of ex-BJP leader Nupur Sharma. The duo was arrested shortly afterwards. Meanwhile, citizens of all faiths, including Muslims, condemned the heinous crime.
CJP is dedicated to finding and bringing to light instances of Hate Speech, so that the bigots propagating these venomous ideas can be unmasked and brought to justice. To learn more about our campaign against hate speech, please become a member. To support our initiatives, please donate now!
Unsurprisingly, both the anti-Islamic extremists and the Islamic hardliners tried to use this incident to their benefit. Both failed miserably.
In the case of the former, right-wing groups tried to call for a social boycott of Muslims and their businesses. This is reminiscent of earlier calls for an ‘economic boycott’ of Muslims earlier in March.
However, this tactic fell flat on its face when the trend died as soon as it appeared on social media. On Twitter, the only tweet that garnered around 300 likes was by ‘Julmi Jat’ on June 29. In it, the netizen said that he will not buy on-veg food from a Muslim person and for the government to stop “funding madrasas”. This was the only tweet that received likes in the hundreds.
The rest of the tweets earned barely one or two likes even a day after posting. The few that managed to gain the attention of people in the double digits either used “Udaipur Horror” as additional hashtags or appealed to the sympathetic masses.
One example is Shahshank Saini who talked about Islamic terrorism but only talked of a boycott in the hashtag.
All other hateful posts also failed to ignite hate, with barely a like and no comment whatsoever. Some right-wingers talked about how they travelled miles away from their local Muslim shops to get the services they required. Even this was met with a cold response by people.
Even bots using Hindu deities as their display picture failed to gain any reverence in their call for “safety” by asking people to identify the vendors they engage with.
After the hijab controversy, Hindutva organisations like the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), Hindu Jagarana Vedike, and Bajrang Dal in Karnataka set up banners outside temples urging them not to lease stalls to Muslims. Even the BJP-led state government had spoken in defence of the ban which further emboldened people to indulge in the discriminatory act.
Meanwhile, Islamic hardliners also failed to elicit any support for their extremist ideology. Muslim individuals as well as socio-cultural groups across India appealed for peace, and the community has distanced itself from extremist ideology.
Organisations like the Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD) and the Mufti-e-Varanasi condemned the brutal murder that violated not just Indian law but also Islamic law. Groups said that there is no place for such an extremist mindset in India and asked people to keep calm.
Addressing the Muslim community, the IMSD reminded that Blasphemy laws are unacceptable in a secular liberal constitutional democracy. Similarly, Jama Masjid, Delhi’s Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari also sent out a statement condemning the murder that ‘shook humanity’. Inn his letter, he said, “[The murder] is not only an act of cowardice but an act against Islam, unlawful and inhuman. I, myself and on behalf of the Muslims of India, with all the vehemence at our disposal, condemn this act.”
Feature image: Representational image.