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How can you, being a Muslim, earn here: Rickshaw driver threatened in Gujarat

The cop at the Commissioner's office sent them to Sola High School Polcie Station where an FIR was registered

Sunday July 14, 2019 9:33 AM, ummid.com News Network

Gujarat Auto Rickshaw

Ahmedabad (Gujarat): In a shocking incident that occured last Tuesday, some Hindus in Ghatlodia area of Ahmedabad stopped a Muslim auto-rickshaw driver, abused him, damaged his vehicle and threatened him of the consequences if he was ever seen driving in the area.

“How can a Muslim drive and earn money in Ghatlodia?” the man who threatened the 48-year-old auto-rickshaw driver, Mohammed Arif Qureshi, according to The Times of India.

Shocked by the unruly incident, Qureshi approached an advocate, Imtiyaz Pathan, who took him to the office of Ahmedabad Police Commissioner A K Singh. The cop at the Commissioner's office sent them to Sola High School Polcie Station where an FIR was registered.

“After I dropped a passenger near Chandlodiya railway station, I was moving about in Ghatlodia to find a passenger. At around 2 p.m., a passenger waved at me to stop the rickshaw. I stopped my auto-rickshaw and asked him where he wanted to go. The passenger said he wanted to go to Delhi Darwaja and I told him to get in,” said Qureshi in his FIR.

“Suddenly, a man rushed there and asked me that how can I, being a Muslim, roam in Ghatlodia and take passengers from here. To this, I told him that I had stopped as the passenger had waved at me to stop. He then got angry at me and abused me. Before I could realise anything, he came up with an iron rod and tried to attack me. I evaded the attack and drove off but my auto rickshaw meter was damaged in the attack", Qureshi, a resident of Biscuit Gali near Pankornaka in Karanj, added.

This is not an islolated incident. Ever since Gujarat became the epicenter of communal violence after the 2002 pogrom, there have been multiple attempts by the government as well as the Hindutva supremacists to “protect the state” by eliminating Muslims. These Hindutva groups, led by the RashtriyaSwayamsevakSangh (RSS), the parent organisation of the ruling BharatiyaJanata Party (BJP), have attempted to restrict the movements and participation of Muslims in the state by organising campaigns and influencing the locals.

In November 2018, a video of a group of people taking an oath to boycott shops owned by Muslims went viral on social media. In the video, people could be heard saying in Gujarati, “In the presence of Hanuman Maharaj, I take an oath that starting today, I won’t buy any goods from shops owned by members of the Muslim community.” Later it was found that the people in the video were members of BJP and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the youth wing of RSS.

Earlier, in 2016, there were reports of gomutra (cow’s urine) being sprinkled on visitors at garba (a Gujarati dance form played during Navratri) venues in Gandhinagar, to keep the Muslims at bay. The rationale was that no Hindu would oppose the sprinkling of cow urine.

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