K’taka: Muslims Stigmatised Over COVID-19; 2 Held for ‘Ban Order’

Bias against Muslims continues in Karnataka as two separate incidents were reported from Ramanagara and Mandya.

2 min read

After reports of attacks on Muslims from Bagalkote in north Karnataka to Bengaluru last week, more incidents of communal bias have emerged, amid the COVID-19 outbreak in the country. Reportage on the pandemic across the country has taken a communal turn after news broke of the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in New Delhi last month.

From BJP MPs tweeting misinformation about ‘misbehaviour’ of Tablighi Jamaat attendees at a hospital in Belagavi to relief workers in Bengaluru being beaten over suspicion of ‘dirtying’ the food by spitting in it before distribution, there has been an uptick in bias and violence against the Muslim community.

In Bengaluru’s Ramanagara district, a video was shared, showing an announcement being made in Ankanahalli village to the effect that Muslims are henceforth banned from entering the village and that none of the villagers should work for Muslims or else risk being fined Rs 500-1,000.

Ramanagara Police have registered a case against three people, including the gram panchayat chief Mahesh, the person making the announcement, Ramaiah and Ramesh, who shared the video on WhatsApp and social media.

While Mahesh has not yet been detained, the other two have been arrested by the police for spreading communal disharmony in society.

The exact announcement made by Ramaiah is: “This is by order of the gram panchayat chief Mahesh. No Sahebs (Muslims) should enter the village. No one should go to work for Sahebs. If anyone does so, they will be fined Rs 500-1,000.”

In a tweet, LK Atheeq, principal secretary of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj said that the incident was a case of ‘minor mischief’ involving a gram panchayat member.

Mandya Farmer Washes Currency Paid by Muslim Traders

In another incident, a video from Mandya recently went viral showing a silk farmer washing currency notes, allegedly because they came from a Muslim, putting him at risk of coronavirus.

In the clip, people can be heard saying that the money was being washed because ‘Sahebs’ had paid it.

Mixed Reactions on Social Media

From saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ to calling out media houses for biased coverage, the response of Twitterati was mixed.

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