Sangh-BJPs Genocidal Politics at Play in Uttarakhand’s Purola

Since May 26, a small town in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi district – Purola – has been witnessing several shops belonging to Muslim community being forcefully closed and posters across the town walls warn them to leave the area by June 15 or face consequences. The attacks on shops and forced exodus has already begun, and local administration and police remains a mute spectator. In Barkot, near Purola, ‘X’ signs were painted on the shutters of some Muslim-owned shops, an act reminiscent of witch-hunting of Jewish population and their establishments by Nazis in Germany.

Indresh Maikhuri, CPIML Uttarakhand state Secretary and Central Committee Member noted the genocidal-communal frenzy being witnessed Purola is part of the larger game plan that has been hatched by Sangh-BJP brigade across the state and country to demonise the minority community. The right wing groups are using fake news of love-jihad and land-jihad to implement their nefarious agenda to divide the society.

According to reports, there are about 400-500 Muslims in Purola, and many have already left the town as VHP, Bajarang Dal and little heard of a group called Devbhoomi Raksha Abhiyan have intensified the hatred campaign.

In a letter to the Uttarakhand DGP, Indresh Maikhuri questioned the silence of the police and administration as those issuing threats against Muslims are roaming openly, attacking shops and uploading their ‘warning videos’ on social media.  “… a person shared the photo of his meeting with you [DGP] in your office from his Facebook account and wrote that the said person spoke to you in the matter of Love Jihad! It is also written in the post that the said person told you that the police should not try to forcefully open shops in Purola.”

“That's surprising, sir. In the case of shops that have been shut down illegally, by intimidation, can a person tell the head of the state police that the police should not try to forcefully open the shops? This seems to be an open threat!” wrote Indresh.

The happenings in Purola is part of a pattern seen recently across Uttarakhand. In December 2021, genocidal slogans and calls were openly given at Haridwar Dharma Sansad. Since then the call for establishment of devbhoomi (land of god) and expulsion of Mulsims have grown louder across the state.

In wake of increasing incidents of call for violence and hate speech, the Supreme Court in October 2022, had specifically directed states of Uttarakhand, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh to take immediate action against those involved in such hate speeches. Further in April 2023, calling hate speech ‘a serious offence capable of affecting the secular fabric of our country’, the SC extended the scope of its 2022 order and directed all states and UTs to register hate speech cases even if no complaint is made.

But the unfolding situation in Purola points towards the state government and police’s complete contempt for the judiciary and constitution of this country.

The right-wing groups have called for a mahapanchayat on June 15, when they have warned Muslims families to leave the area. Several political parties, including CPIML Liberation and civil society organisations have written to the state governor demanding immediate protection for the Muslim community in the area. Condemning the violent threats against Muslim community in Purola, the organisations have also called for immediate halt to the communally targeted ‘anti-encroachment drives’ of the government. The memorandum noted that such moves under grab of attacking a particular community is unconstitutional and unlawful.

The organisations also called for a mahapanchayat against the hatred and genocidal politics on June 18 in Dehradun. Similar programs will be carried out across the state to stop the communal frenzy politics of the Sangh-BJP brigade.