Tamil Nadu: Muslims demand anti-Islamophobia Act, arrest of Nupur Sharma

Maltreated and abused by the rise of virulent Hindu Nationalism, around 1500 protesters gathered in the small town of Nagore in Tamil Nadu demanding the arrest of Nupur Sharma, and enforcement of an ‘Anti – Islamophobia Act’.

“Your Bulldozers cannot shatter our Iman,” all the 1500 voices echoed as the demonstration began.

Muslim men and women had gathered near the Nagore bus stand in the Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu to protest against Nupur Sharma, who passed derogatory remarks against the prophet Muhammed on Times Now, a national television channel and stirred an anti-Muslim tension in the country. A public demonstration was organized earlier in the evening today by Nagore Anaithu Jamaath Kootamaippul – Nagore Jamaath Federation, near the town’s bus stand. 

The controversy gained the attention of global Islamic nations and to avoid international strife, India’s ruling party as an eyewash had merely suspended the BJP functionary. Condemning the wilful remarks of Nupur Sharma, protesters emerged across the states of Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Maharashtra demanding the arrest of Nupur Sharma. 

Following suit, in Tamil Nadu, a peaceful demonstration was organized where the crowd condemned the police killings in Jharkhand and the punitive treatment of Yogi Adityanath’s government in the illegal demolition of Afreen Fatima’s house. Afreen is a prominent Muslim student activist and the National Secretary of the Fraternity Movement. The demonstrators also condemned the police assault on Aysha Renna, the student activist, and one of the faces of the anti-CAA movement in the Malappuram district of Kerala two days ago.

Apart from demanding the arrest of Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal, the gathering demanded government compensation for victims. “We demand the government to take actions against Times Now for endorsing hate speech. The families of martyred children in Jharkhand must be provided with an ex-gratia of 25 lakh rupees each and compassionate government jobs should be provided to one of the family members,” read their press release. 

The Federation also further demanded the release of Javed Muhammed (father of Afreen Fatima) and his family and other protesters who were arrested; they urged actions to be taken against police officials who yielded unwarranted use of force which was the major cause of violence that broke out in Allahabad on 10 June. Most importantly, the protest highlighted the need for an “Anti – Islamophobia Act” for the legal protection of Muslim minorities.

“Just like the Prevention of Atrocities Act for the SC & STs, there should be an Anti – Islamophobia Act at the wake of Sangh Parivar and their propaganda against the Muslims, this will at least provide an insignificant measure of safety for our people,” says Ahamed Rizwan, a journalist based in Tamil Nadu. 

Hindutva groups like Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have subjugated the Muslim minority by spreading conspiracy theories of love jihad, halal jihad, mob lynching, Azaan controversy, Ram Navami controversy, hate speech and bulldozer politics. 

“Feeding into the compilation of attacks on the Muslims, recently, Nupur Sharma, former National Spokesperson of BJP and Naveen Jindal, former Delhi BJP media chief have pathologized Islam by passing derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad,” commented a 35-year-old wheel-chaired Muslim man, who asserted that the protests conducted throughout the country cast backs their resistance even stronger. 

During the protest, a 75-year-old man by the name of Mohamed Ali (a) Paun Maraicar died a natural death as he sat on a chair to observe the demonstration. Nagore Jamaath Federation expressed their condolences to his family and was overwhelmed by his presence at the protest even at an old age. 

The organization has prepared a petition signed by the protesters with their demands laid out. The petition will be sent to the Chief Minister M K Stalin of Tamil Nadu, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.