‘Sensitise police forces about ‘Indianness’ of Muslims in country’

Former Supreme Court judge Rohinton Nariman . (File photo)

Former Supreme Court judge Rohinton Nariman underlined the need for sensitization of police forces about the ‘Indianness’ of the Muslims in the country to check communal tensions and promote fraternity

In a foreword to a report on the violence against Muslims in many states during Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti celebrations in April of last year, Justice Nariman wrote, according to LiveLaw: “Given the preamble and the Fundamental Duties chapter of the Constitution of India, it is of primary importance to sensitise the police force in all the states of India to these constitutional values and fundamental duties of the citizens. This can be done by first informing them that Muslims situated in India are Indians.”

Justice Nariman said: “It is important to emphasize that Indian Muslims are not a homogeneous group of people but are divided into any number of sub-groups having cultural identities identical to other Indians consisting of different religious groups. Once this basic fact is drilled into the police force in all the States, things could become much better.” The former judge also raised concern over “political interference with the function of the police” and called for stopping the practice. According to LiveLaw: “All this should ensure a new beginning on the long and hard road to achieving fraternity, which alone ensures the dignity of every individual citizen of India and, more importantly, the unity of our great nation.”

While the report entitled ‘‘Routes of Wrath: Weaponising Religious Processions’ said the mob violence under the garb of religious festivals happened earlier also, but its frequency has increased. The report found that the April 2022 communal violence, witnessed in as many as nine states, was catalysed by “religious processions celebrating the Hindu festivals of Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti, followed by targeted attacks on Muslim-owned properties, businesses and places of worship”.

The report, prepared by civil society organisation, Citizens and Lawyers Initiative, has claimed that the processions have been taken over by militant ‘Hindutva’ organisations over the years, the report has further claimed. The report was edited by senior advocate Chander Uday Singh.

It said: “Despite the increasingly violent nature of such processions in recent years – Ram Navami processions led to scattered incidents of communal violence in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2019 – they are portrayed by the Hindu Right and mainstream media as innocuous displays of religiosity, and blame is typically assigned to those who would challenge such displays.”


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