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Scroll.In - March 1, 2020

Beloved friends, comrades and my fellow writers,

This place where we are gathered today is only a short bus ride away from where four days ago a fascist mob, fired up by speeches made by members of the Ruling Party, backed up and actively assisted by the police, assured of round the clock support by a vast section of the electronic mass media, and comforted by the belief that the courts would do nothing to come in their way – mounted an armed, murderous attack on Muslims in the working class colonies of North East Delhi.

The attack had been in the air for a while, so people were somewhat prepared, and so defended themselves. Markets, shops, homes, mosques and vehicles have been burnt down. The streets are full of stones and debris. The hospitals are full of the wounded and dying. The morgues are full of the dead. Both Muslim and Hindu, including a policeman and a young staffer of the Intelligence Bureau. Yes. People on both sides have shown themselves capable of horrifying brutality as well as unbelievable courage and kindness.

However, there can be no equivalence here. None of this alters the fact that the attack was begun by lumpen mobs chanting “Jai Shri Ram” backed by the apparatus of this now nakedly fascist state. Notwithstanding these slogans, this is not what people like to label a Hindu-Muslim “riot”. It is a manifestation of the ongoing battle between fascists and anti-fascists – in which Muslims are the first among the Fascists’ “enemies”. To call it a riot or a “danga”, or “Left” versus “Right” or even “Right” versus “Wrong” as many are doing, is dangerous and obfuscatory.

We have all seen the videos of the police standing by and sometimes participating in the arson. We have seen them smashing CCTV cameras, just as they did when they vandalised the Jamia Millia Islamia University library on December 15. We have seen them beat wounded Muslim men as they lay piled up against each other and force them to sing the national anthem. We know that one of those young men is dead. All the dead, wounded and devastated, Muslim as well as Hindu are victims of this regime headed by Narendra Modi, our nakedly fascist Prime Minister who himself is no stranger to being at the helm of affairs in a state when 18 years ago a massacre on a much larger scale went on for weeks.

The anatomy of this particular conflagration will be studied for years to come. But the local detail will only be a matter of historical record because the ripples based on hateful rumours fuelled on the social media have begun to eddy outwards and we can already smell more blood on the breeze. Although there have been no more killings in North Delhi, yesterday (February 29) saw mobs of people in Central Delhi chanting the slogan that built up to the attacks: “Desh ke Gaddaron ko, Goli maaron saalon ko.”

Only a few days ago. the Delhi High Court Judge, Justice Muralidharan was furious with the Delhi Police for having taken no action against Kapil Mishra, former BJP MLA candidate who had earlier too used it as an election slogan. On the night of February 26, the judge was given midnight orders to take up his new assignment in the Punjab High Court. Kapil Mishra is back on the streets chanting the same slogan. It can now be used until further notice. Fun and games with judges isn’t new. We know the story about Justice Loya. We may have forgotten the story of Babu Bajrangi, convicted of participating in the killing 96 Muslims in Naroda Patiya, in Gujarat in 2002. Listen to him on YouTube: He’ll tell you how “Narendra bhai” got him out of jail because of “setting” the judges.

We have learned to expect massacres such as this one before elections – they have become a sort of barbaric election campaign to polarise votes and build constituencies. But the Delhi massacre happened just days after an election, after the BJP-RSS suffered a humiliating defeat. It is a punishment for Delhi and an announcement for the coming elections in Bihar.

Everything is on record. Everything is available for everyone to see and hear – the provocative speeches of Kapil Mishra, Parvesh Verma, Union Minister Anurag Thakur, Chief Minister of UP Yogi Adityanath, the Home Minister Amit Shah and even the Prime Minister himself. And yet everything has been turned upside down – it’s being made to appear as though all of India is a victim of the absolutely peaceful, mostly female, mostly – but not only – Muslim protestors who have been out on the streets for almost 75 days, in their tens of thousands, to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act. ...
Read Ms. Roy's full report at Scroll.In