The true motives of the Shaheen Bagh movement are slowly becoming apparent.
ANI has reported that Shaheen Bagh mastermind Sharjeel Imam, who was arrested by the police on Tuesday, wants to turn India into an Islamic state. “Interrogation has revealed that Sharjeel Imam is highly radicalized and believes that India should be an Islamic state,” ANI quoted Delhi Police sources as saying. Imam has he also admitted that no tampering has been done with the videos of his different speeches in which he was asking for Assam to be permanently cut off from India.
In the past, Imam has often brought up the percentage of Muslims that reside in India. During a speech made during the Jamia protests, he’d said that Muslims form a significant percentage of population in Indian cities, and thus could bring Indian cities to a standstill.
Imam had also been a major figure in the CAA protests — on the day of the Jamia riots, when several buses had been burnt, he had been present next to AAP MLA Amanutullah Khan, who’d given a provocative speech following which the riots had taken place.
At the speech at Shaheen Bagh, Imam had asked for Assam to be cut off from the rest of India and taught a lesson, as Bengalis — both Hindus and Muslims — were being killed or put into detention centres. In an audio clip, he had been heard saying that if he can organise five lakh people, it would become possible to “permanently cut off Assam with rest of India…if not permanently, then at least for a few months”.
As such, Sharjeel Imam telling the Delhi Police that he wants India to become an Islamic state isn’t particularly surprising. There have been several successful Islamic uprisings around the world — Iran, until 1979 was a secular nation where women wore mini skirts and mixed freely with men, but after the Islamic revolution, can only appear in public with their heads covered, and can’t attend sporting events. More recently, ISIS had tried to create an Islamic state in parts of Iraq and Syria, and had instituted strict Islamic laws including chopping off of limbs for crimes like stealing, compulsory burqas, and had punished gay people with executions. And as Sharjeel Iman’s admission to the Delhi Police shows, the Shaheen Bagh protest could be the first step in the same direction.