Youtuber arrested a year after FIR filed against him for anti-Muslim content

Date 16 december 2021

Controversial YouTuber Maridhas was arrested for a 2020 video where he had insinuated the role of the Muslim community for the spread of COVID-19. Maridhas’s arrest has come a year after the FIR was filed. In April 2020, Maridhas was booked by the Tirunelveli police under charges of stoking communal sentiment based on a complaint against his videos about the coronavirus. Maridhas had claimed that “coronavirus is being deliberately spread by (Muslim) terrorists to murder innocents across the world.” 

In one of the videos he states that when a terrorist becomes a suicide bomber he manages to kill about 100 people while coronavirus can kill 2,000 people. Maridhas further adds that supporters of this terrorism protect themselves with their Muslim identity and then allege discrimination in order to protect themselves. In another video titled- ‘Growing Corona numbers – Is terrorism the reason? Is the DMK doing vote bank politics?’- Maridhas alleged that the DMK was targeting him for ‘speaking the truth’ on Muslims.

Maridas was booked under IPC sections 292A (printing, etc., of grossly indecent or scurrilous matter or matter intended for black mail), 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 505(2) (statements conducing to public mischief with intent to cause fear). and Section 67 of The Information Technology Act. The arrest was made as per complaint filed by Mohamad Kader Meeran of Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam in Tirunelveli on April 4, 2020 in connection with one YouTube video released by Maridas.




Man Beaten to Death by Friends in Haryana, Communal Angle Suspected

Date: 20 december 2021

A 22-year-old man was beaten to death in Haryana’s Palwal on Tuesday, December 14 by three men who were reportedly his friends. While the accused had initially alleged that Rahul Khan, the victim, had died in a road accident, a video which was sent to the family after his death showed him being beaten and has led the family and authorities to suspect a communal angle behind the killing.

On the basis of the video, police have arrested the three friends: Aakash (alias DIljale), Vishal and Kalua, all residents of Rasoolpur village, who now remain in custody.

Rahul’s brother-in-law, Akram Khan told Indian Express that when he arrived at Kalua’s house after being told about the supposed road accident, the victim was barely conscious, his head was crushed and he had injuries on his arms and legs. Akram and the accused thus took him to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

At the hospital, Rahul allegedly told his sister, Razia, that he had been beaten up. She also alleged that, since her father’s retirement from the Indian Railways in April this year, the accused had been demanding more and more money from Rahul, the Hindustan Times reported.

On the morning of December 15, Rahul’s family supposedly received the video, which had also been uploaded to social media, which showed him being beaten and in which the accused can allegedly be heard saying Rahul was a Muslim and they (the accused) were Hindus, leading the family to allege a communal angle.

The police had initially registered an FIR, on the basis of the family’s complaint, on charges under IPC Sections 279 (rash driving) and 304 (a) (death caused by negligence) but after the video surfaced and the post-mortem analysis revealed all of the victim’s injuries, they added charges of murder and arrested Rahul’s friends.




Photo of Bangladesh Muslims offering namaz in public claimed to be from India

Date: 17 december 2021

For the past three months, locals and members of right-wing groups had been protesting against Friday namaz in public spaces in Gurugram. The Times of India reported, “In 2018, after similar protests, the number of sites designated for namaz by the administration was brought down to 37 from 108. This November, the number of designated spaces was further curtailed to 20.”

Against this backdrop, Pakistani Canadian columnist Tarek Fatah tweeted an image of hundreds of people offering namaz in public. “It’s a demonstration of numbers to intimidate others,” wrote Fatah. His tweet was retweeted over 2,000 times.

A closer look at the image reveals that one of the buses has BRTC written on it. It is a double-decker bus.

BRTC is an acronym for Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation. Photographs of similar buses were found in Bangladesh-based outlets The Daily Star, The Financial Express, and Bangladesh Live.

A search on the stock photography website Alamy led us to the image in question. The viral image is a cropped version of the original. As per the image details, it was clicked in 2020 by Sheikh Mohammad Mahadi Hassan. The image caption reads, “Muslims are performing Jumma prayers at The Bishwa Ijtema, the second largest congregation of the world’s Muslims after Hajj.”




Right-Wing Groups Disrupt Namaz Again, Impose 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' Slogans and conduct ‘bhandara’

Date: 17 december 2021

Members belonging to right-wing outfits on Friday, 17 December, disrupted namaz in Udyog Vihar Phase 5, when they heckled people who were present at the site to offer their prayers into raising slogans like "Bharat Mata ki Jai" and "Hindustan Zindabad".

Visuals of the incursion emerged on social media on Friday, which captured the right-wing members screaming at the namazis. "Saare kyun nahi bol rahe hain (why isn't everyone chanting?)" a man can be heard saying in the video.

Altaf Ahmad, the co-founder of Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch took to Twitter on Friday and wrote, "Right-wing groups are defining how Juma Namaz will be offered and where it will be offered."

Meanwhile, no namaz was offered in Sector 37, where locals orgnized a ‘bhandara’ at the spot.




Communal tension in Indora village after cow found dead

Date: 17 december 2021

Tension is brewing in Surdawan village in the Indora area of Kangra district. Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists have started a protest demanding that Muslim Gujjars, who have settled on common land in the village, be evicted. They had blocked traffic over the issue in Indora recently as part of their agitation.

The Gujjars, on the other hand, allege that they are being harassed by vested interests. They allege that miscreants have burnt their hay dumps many times but the police have not taken action against anyone.

The current situation obtained after the carcass of a cow was found in the area. The VHP activists accuse Muslim Gujjars of killing the cow.

He says that the VHP activists have been demanding the eviction of the Gujjars from government land in Surdawan village. However, besides the Gujjars, there are many other people who have encroached upon government land in the area. The district administration has started legal proceedings to evict all encroachers, irrespective of their religions, from government land.

Local VHP leader Sunil Dutt, who is heading the protest, claimed that the post mortem report had left several questions unanswered.

“Even if we assume that the cow had died of natural reasons, it is equally true that after the death, its body was deliberately brutalised,” he told The Wire.

“There are no clear answers how such brutal external injuries appeared on the body: who did this and why it was done,” he added.

Dutt added, “It is wrong to assume that we are targeting any particular community for the cow’s murder. But at the same time, it is equally true that no Hindu could attempt this shameless act.”




Indu Makkal Katchi falsely claims Muslims accept “spitting” completes halal

Date: 18 december 2021

Tamil Nadu-based right-wing party Indu Makkal Katchi posted a tweet thread where the opening tweet reads, “In a court case they admitted that spitting is what made Halal complete, through out the Nation including TN. [sic]” The party claimed that the Muslim community admitted in court that it is essential to spit on food to make it Halal. This tweet has been retweeted over 1,500 times.

The second tweet shows a screenshot of an article in the legal news portal Bar and Bench. The excerpt reads, “The religious scholars of the Muslim community have been proclaiming publicly that saliva is a necessary ingredient for certifying Halal in the preparation of food materials. The religious scholars took the above view by interpreting holy texts and its valid interpretations. However, different views were also expressed by a section of religious leaders. In view of the recent controversy as regards spitting on food materials to make it Halal and the responses from religious scholars, people at large are highly anxious and obnoxious on the use of Halal certified food materials even for household purposes. It is highly disheartening to see that the food materials prepared following the rituals and religious practices of another religion with its certification is accepted as food material for the preparation of Nivedyam/Prasada in a Hindu temple having its own rituals and customs.”

Indu Makkal Katchi’s opening tweet also includes a seven-second clip that shows a Muslim cook spitting or blowing on dough. Readers should note that in the past year several such videos have been shared along with the claim that Muslims are conspiring against Hindus. Anti-Muslim disinformation campaigns during the COVID-19 outbreak last year had sparked the claim that Muslims have been “spitting” on food.

A keyword search reveals that the excerpt in the Bar and Bench screenshot is from a report on a November 27 hearing in Kerala High court — S. J. R. Kumar vs The Travancore Devaswom Board & Ors. The Bar and Bench article recognises the excerpt as part of a “plea” — highlighted in red in the screenshot below. Therefore, members of the Muslim community did not make the claim but the petitioner SJR Kumar did.




Reconvert and pray in temples: Hindu outfit to Muslims

Date: 20 december 2021

A right-wing group disrupting Friday namaz being held in the open asked Muslims to “reconvert” and pray in Hindu temples. Ancestors of a majority of Haryana Muslims belonged to Hindu community, said Mahaveer Bhardwaj, chairman of the Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti, a body of 32 right-wing Hindu outfits.

“We can organise a mass ‘ghar wapsi’ in Leisure Valley here and they will be taken back in their castes and accepted with open arms,” Bharadwaj said.

“They will have their temples to pray and this namaz issue will end,” he added.




RSS workers threaten Muslims during protest rally

Date: 20 december 2021

Members of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh carrying out a rally in Kunnamkulam, Thrissur to protest the murder of a senior RSS functionary in Alappuzha in Kerala raised slogans threatening Muslims. Members warned Muslims that “there won’t be any heads left to wear caps for namaz”. Ranjith Srinivasan, a senior RSS functionary, had been murdered a few days, allegedly by members of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) in retaliation for the murder of their state secretary. 

Based a complaint by Popular Front of India, 50 people were booked for the inflammatory slogans.