Close to 20,000 Muslims assembled peacefully at the Islamia College ground in Bareilly after Friday prayers and offered themselves for what they called "mass sacrifice" in protest against genocide calls at the Dharam Sansad in Haridwar recently, the Times of India has reported.
"They want to kill 20 lakh (two million) Muslims. We are ready for it. At least 20,000 Muslims here will surrender before the government and are ready to sacrifice their lives for the country's peace and harmony," said Tauqeer Raza Khan, scholar and founder of Ittehad-e-Millat Council, who called the protest.
Addressing the gathering, Raza said, "We do not want to fight with you since you are our brothers. If your thirst can be quenched by our blood, we are ready to go to the altar of sacrifice. Now you decide who is wrong - those who are ready to lay down their lives for the country or those who disregard women and give a call to kill 200 million people of a community. Can those people be called patriots?
"War is in our blood, we are born like warriors. But we don't want war with you because you are our brother. If you want war and want to see our bravery, then come with us and see our courage on the border of China," said Tauqeer Raza Khan.
"Every day you insult the Quran, insult the Prophet Mohammed. You run campaigns to humiliate our women. Aren't you ashamed? We are sitting peacefully because we want peace. Tears of blood drip from our eyes. But now our patience is running out, don't provoke us.
"I request the government to give arms to these 20,000 Muslim youths. We will bring Kailash Mansarovar free from China and gift it to our Hindu brothers. Call the Indian Army and give us training, we will defeat Pakistan."
Tauqeer Raza Khan said that Muslims will stage such protest rallies every Friday to denounce the genocide calls.
What Hindutva Leaders said at Haridwar?
This massive protest rally comes after a three-day 'hate conclave' was organized by the controversial Hindutva leader Yati Narsinghanand from 17 to 19 December in Uttarakhand's pilgrimage city of Haridwar, where multiple calls to kill Muslims and attack their religious spaces were made. Here is what the extremist Hindutva leaders said.
Yati Narsinghanand called for a "war against Muslims" and urged "Hindus to take up weapons" to ensure a "Muslim didn't become the Prime Minister in 2029." He called on Hindu youth to become "Prabhakaran" and "Bhindranwale" and provoked Hindus to pick up arms against the Muslims, promising to give them 10 million rupees for it. "The only subject of this Dharam Sansad is that in 2029 the PM of India will be a Muslim. This is not a baseless thought... The way the Muslim population is increasing and our population decreasing, in seven-eight years, only Muslims will be seen on the roads," Narsinghanand said.
Swami Prabodhanand Giri, president of the Hindu Raksha Sena, a right-wing Uttarakhand-based organization, said: "This is our state now. You have seen this at the Delhi border, they killed Hindus and hung them. There is no more time, the case now is that either you prepare to die now, or get ready to kill, there's no other way. This is why, like in Myanmar, the police here, the politicians here, the army and every Hindu must pick up weapons and we will have to conduct this cleanliness drive (safai abhiyan). There is no solution apart from this."
Annapurna aka Pooja Shakun Pandey, a mahamandleshwar of the Niranjani Akhara and general secretary of the Hindu Mahasabha, also gave a call to arms and incitement to genocide. Without any ambiguity, she gave a direct call for the mass murder of Muslims.
"Nothing is possible without weapons. If you want to eliminate their population then kill them. Be ready to kill and be ready to go to jail. Even if 100 of us are ready to kill 20 lakhs of them (Muslims), then we will be victorious, and go to jail... Like [Nathuram] Godse, I am ready to be maligned, but I will pick up arms to defend my Hindutva from every demon who is a threat to my religion," she said.
Another religious leader, Swami Anandswaroop, whose hate speeches and incitement to violence have been documented by The Wire in the past, was also seen making genocidal statements. "The decision of this Dharma Sansad would be a word of God and the government will have to listen to it," he said. "If it won't, then we would wage a war that would be more gruesome than the revolt of 1857."
He went on to explain through personal examples how Hindus should deal with Muslim street vendors. "The street in which I live, every morning I used to spot a Mullah [derogatory word for a Muslim] with a big beard and nowadays they keep a saffron beard. This is Haridwar, Maharaj. There is no Muslim buyer here, so throw him out," he said.
Swami Anandswaroop made headlines in January 2021 when he addressed a 'Hindu Panchayat' in Meerut, explaining the rationale of these campaigns in clear terms. "My argument is that if you [Muslims] want to remain associated with us, you should first stop reading the Quran and stop offering namaz," he had said at the event. Then he had offered a 'solution' to Hindus: "You decide that you will not buy anything from a Muslim. If you destroy them socially, politically and economically, they will begin converting to Hinduism from Islam," he had said.
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