“Notice boards refusing entry to ‘outsiders’ (read Hindus) and warning them not to enter, have appeared in settlements at Pamban, Azhagankulam, Panaikulam, Puduvalasai, Athiyuthu, Sitharkottai, Pettakavayal, etc. Only after a comprehensive report appeared in Delhi-based national daily The Pioneer (16 December 2013) did the district authorities swing into action and direct the police to remove all such boards.” – Thamizhchelvan
The vote bank politics and appeasement policies followed by the government emboldened the jihadis to spread their extremism faster and further as evidenced by the issues related to the films Innocence of Muslims and Vishwaroopam and the Ambur and Ramanathapuram riots in the aftermath of the deaths of accused fundamentalists.
While on the one hand, the jihadis spread their acts of terror capitalizing on the ineptitude of the government, on the other hand, the authorities of various government departments followed in the footsteps of their masters in government in order to earn a good name. The documentary (Tamil Nadu in the Grip of Islamic Terrorism) released by Hindu Munnani shows, as a classic example, such an act committed by the Collector of Ramanathapuram district with clear evidences.
Hindus follow the tradition of wearing sacred threads around their wrists, arms, neck, etc. Pendants (called ‘dollars’ locally) having the images of gods and goddesses are normally fitted with the threads and worn around the neck. Hindu parents have the habit of tying such threads around the necks of their wards in the belief that they would be protected from evil forces.
A Physical Training (PT) teacher of a school in Sitharkottai, Ramanathapuram district, cut these ‘protection threads’ of around 50 students without giving any reason. The Collector of Ramanathapuram district, instead of ensuring dignity for children in schools, enforced a ban on the wearing of such threads by Hindu students. He had the audacity to cite as reason that allowing Hindu children to wear protection threads and pendants would lead to communal riots.
The documentary plays the voice of the headmistress of a local school testifying that the Collector had indeed given such an order. She says, “Collector had convened a meeting for school headmasters of Paramakkudi and Ramanathapuram, in connection with the announcements of results of Higher Secondary exams. He had asked us to tell the students not to wear protection threads, neck dollars and other religious symbols. He had also asked us to tell the students to remove such symbols. We were informed that police in civil clothes have been watching the schools. They have warned the headmasters and the school students”.
The very same Collector, who antagonized the Hindus, unhesitatingly took part in events such as iftar parties organized by fundamentalist outfits. This style of functioning is not exclusive to the Collector, but is shared by authorities of other government bodies. In fact, the government hospital in Keezhakarai has become a regular venue for iftar parties.
The authorities have failed to take action on the Jamaaths which have denied entry to “outsiders” (read Hindus) in many places dominated by their community. Notice boards refusing entry to “outsiders” (read Hindus) and warning them not to enter, have appeared in settlements at Pamban, Azhagankulam, Panaikulam, Puduvalasai, Athiyuthu, Sitharkottai, Pettakavayal, etc. Only after a comprehensive report appeared in Delhi-based national daily The Pioneer (16 December 2013) did the district authorities swing into action and direct the police to remove all such boards.
The holiday which has been declared since British period, for the Arudra Festival of the famous Utharakosa Mangai Temple, was cancelled in the current year. The reason given was that Muslims have grown in numbers in Ramanathapuram. Such acts by government authorities are not prevalent in Ramanathapuram alone, but are prevalent across the state and the same is shown by the documentary through many incidents.
Mushrooming of mosques disproportionate to the population of Muslims seems to be another issue gaining momentum in the state. Mosques are constructed on main thoroughfares and temple processions, marriage processions and funeral processions with music and drum beats are not allowed to pass through such thoroughfares. Authorities go to the extent of either stopping the processions or changing the traditional routes of such processions, to appease the fundamentalists. Sometimes, the processions are attacked by the members of fundamentalist organisations who indulge in riots with an intention to create trouble and block the procession.
Desecration of Hindu temples seems to be a regular phenomenon in areas and towns dominated by fundamentalists.
- Adi Jagannaatha Perumal Temple in Thirupullani is an important pilgrim center for Hindus en route Rameswaram Sethu Yatra. The name board of this temple was broken by fundamentalists on February 20, 2013.
- Karuppatti Muneeswarar Temple at Kezhakarai was demolished on December 21, 2012.
- Kannan Temple in Ramanathapuram was desecrated on October 31, 2012.
- The same day, Agni Veerabadra Swami Temple was also attacked.
- On September 21, 2013, petrol bombs were thrown at Om Sakthi Vinayakar Temple in Ramanathapuram.
- The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of the government of Tamil Nadu had leased 15 shops along the hill route leading to the famous Murugan Temple in Pazhani. Some shops were taken on lease by Muslims and a few more have been handed over by Hindu lessees to Muslims for management. Fundamentalists have been utilizing these premises for consuming liquor and eating non-vegetarian food. The documentary shows a member of an organization called Pazhani Hill Temple Protection Committee testifying that the shops have been misused by fundamentalists.
- In Nagapattinam district, pamphlets were distributed denigrating Swami Aiyappan during the Sabarimala pilgrimage season.
Besides temples, the fundamentalists have also attacked the samadhis and memorials of Hindu saints.
- In Kruthalapuram village of Thiruvallur district, fundamentalists have usurped a Hindu sant’s samadhi (Sarveshwara Baba) and converted it into a dargah called Shahinsha dargah. The temple manager Murthi, who protested against this atrocity, was brutally murdered by jihadis. The documentary gives a detailed picture about this murder.
- A memorial pillar was raised in Ramanathapuram town in commemoration of Swami Vivekananda’s return from Chicago after his historical visit to USA to attend the Parliament of World Religions. The fundamentalists, who visit a nearby mosque for prayers, indulge in repeatedly damaging this pillar.
- In a place called Vannangundu, the inaugural procession of Swami Vivekananda Rath in commemoration of his 150th anniversary was stopped by fundamentalists and the persons participating in the procession were also attacked. As a consequence, police themselves stopped a similar procession in another place Keezhkarai citing law and order problems.
- In Triplicane area of Chennai city, Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath distributed pamphlets demeaning Sant Vadalur Ramalinga Vallalar, who taught and preached only pure love and ahimsa. But the city police, in an act of appeasement, arrested the Hindus who complained against it.
Hindu symbols and worshipping patterns have also been attacked and demeaned.
- The fundamentalists put up banners demeaning jyothish shastra and the worshipping patterns of Hindus in the name of abolition of “shirk”. When complaints were made the police refuse to act, saying, “They put up banners only in their places; why are you bothered about it?” In reality, banners have been put up in public places close to Hindu temples also. The Tamil Nadu government even allowed a huge “Shirk Abolition Conference” in Trichy.
- The fundamentalists indulge in cow slaughter regularly across the state, especially during their festivals like Bakr Id, Ramzan. In remote places where they dominant, slaughter of cows happens even on normal days. On one such occasion, two fundamentalists slaughtered a cow near a Hindu temple in Azhagankulam area of Ramanathapuram district. When the local Hindus condemned the act and held a protest demonstration, the police arrested them.
- Often, banners are put up saying “Cows for Qurbani”, to hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus. Thousands of cows are slaughtered during festivals and announcements about it vide banners, thus hurting Hindu religious sentiments. Showing this with evidences in their documentary, Hindu Munnani rightly asks, “Why this barbaric act of fundamentalists hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus not condemned by the government and political parties?”
- Although the fundamentalists ally with Dravidian parties which claim to be torch bearers of Tamil culture, they do not bother to even fold their hands (Namaste) while greeting others. They claim that ‘greeting with folded hands’ is anti-Islam. During electioneering, Muslim candidates do not greet the voters by folding their hands. The documentary cites as evidence former Congress Member of Legislative Assembly, Hassan Ali, who refused to garland the portrait of Congress stalwart, late Kamaraj.
The fundamentalists, who desecrate Hindu symbols and worshipping patterns, also indulge in destroying Hindu families.
- On February 23, 2014, a youth molested a girl named Shobana in Muthialpet area of Chennai. When her brother tried to save her, a group of fundamentalists attacked him. When he went to the police station to lodge a complaint, a group of fundamentalists attacked him in front of the policemen.
- In a similar kind of incident, on November 23, 2014, a youth molested a 40-year-old woman in Chennai’s Triplicane area. When her son questioned them, he was brutally attacked.
Showing these examples, the documentary says that such incidents happen sporadically across the State and that the Hindu women are being driven to a state of insecurity. The documentary also deals with “love jihad”, which has assumed the dimensions of a national problem. Some indulge in planned love affairs with Hindu girls with a motive of converting them later.
These “love traps” are laid in schools, colleges and work places. Once won over, the fundamentalists convert them and marry them. One of the highlights of the documentary is that it establishes, with proper evidences, the fraudulent conduct of such marriages. Shockingly, members of the community themselves act as “guardians” for the enticed Hindu girls to conduct these marriages. The Tamil Nadu government’s Department of Registration recognizes these duplicitous affidavits thereby encouraging such conversions. More shockingly, such converted women are sometimes involved in illegal activities by the fundamentalist groups. Many families of the victims of “love jihad” remain in the dark, swallowing the shame and insults heaped on them because of their misled daughters.
The fundamentalists propagate that there is nothing like “love jihad” and that people who talk about it are adversaries of genuine love marriages. They also indulge in murderous attacks on Muslims who convert to Hinduism after love marriages.
(To be continued…)
» The visual documentation of the above mentioned features can be seen and downloaded from this website link from 9:30 mts to 19:10 mts.
» Thamizhchelvan is an independent journalist in Chennai.
- 1 – Tamil Nadu in the grip of Jihad — Thamizhchelvan
- 2 – Tamil Nadu in the grip of Jihad — Thamizhchelvan