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Indian journalist ‘martyred’ as Hindus and Muslims clash

Indian journalist ‘martyred’ as Hindus and Muslims clash

Angry Hindus have vowed to avenge the death of journalist Rahul Upadhyay, above, who reported died when Hindus and Muslims were involved in riots in the Indian  city of Kasganj last month.

But Upadhyay, a 24-year-old Hindu, is very much alive. However, the news has yet to filter through the country, and, according to this report, hundreds of miles away, in the city of Gorakhpur, posters with his photograph are being distributed with the words:

We will take revenge for the death of martyr Rahul Upadhyay.

The clashes occurred during celebrations of India’s Republic Day, January 26. Schools, shops and a mosque were damaged. One person, Chandan Gupta, 21, died of bullet wounds; another almost had his eye gouged out.

Upadhyay stayed away from the violence, bunkering down inside his home in a nearby village. But the following evening, a friend called to share a peculiar bit of news:

You have been elevated to being a martyr.

In the span of a few hours, messages on WhatsApp and Facebook went viral across Uttar Pradesh State, which includes Kasganj. They mourned “martyr Rahul”, claiming he had been killed in the clashes.

Candlelight vigils paying respect to Upadhyay, who is Hindu, lit up the streets of seven districts, some with the participation of local politicians.

By the time Upadhyay found out, there was little he could do: the riots had become so bad in Kasganj that the authorities shut down the Internet. He said:

No media house or politician bothered to visit my place or call me first to confirm that I was indeed dead. The marketplace of rumours had heated up beyond control.


A Republic Day rally, termed as Tiranga Yatra, in which Chandan Gupta, above, was killed and one other was left severely injured has by far resulted in the arrest of at least 112 people. It was reported today that another arrest was made in connection with Gupta’s death.

For much of its history, Muslims and Hindus coexisted peacefully in Kasganj, a dusty city about 100 miles east of New Delhi. But in the years since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party rose to power in 2014, violent outbreaks between Hindus and Muslims have become more common in some pockets of India.

The Kasganj clashes began with the Muslims raising a flag to celebrate Republic Day, which marks the enactment of India’s constitution in 1950.

According to a police report filed by Sushil Gupta, the father the man who was killed, a group of Muslims began taunting Hindus, shouting “Long Live Pakistan,” and telling them that they would have to chant “Hail Pakistan” if they wanted to pass.

But Shamsul Arafeen, 70, a Muslim tailor, blamed the Hindus.

They started abusing us, saying, ‘If you want to live in Hindustan, you must chant ‘Hail Sita and Ram’.

He was using another name for India and referring to two Hindu gods.

The confrontation escalated, with rioters from both sides throwing stones at each other and burning shops to the ground. Videos of the confrontations spread rapidly. The authorities shut down internet service in the area for hours.

By the end of the clashes, which stretched over a week, over 100 people had been arrested, both Hindu and Muslim. Mohar Singh Tomar, an investigating officer with Kasganj’s police force, said it was unclear who started the clashes, brushing aside suggestions that either religious group had received unfair treatment.

Purnendra Pratap Singh Solanki, the district president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, took a harder line, characterising the confrontation as a “preplanned conspiracy” by a growing Muslim population to target Hindus.

What is very problematic for us is that Muslims are ruled by their religion first. They consider themselves Muslims before Indians, whereas the Hindus consider themselves Indians first and then Hindus.

He added:

The solution to such problems is to control their population. Their religious education at the madrassas must be combined with nationalism, peppered with nationalism. The problem is they don’t want to get educated at all.

As for Upadhyay, he still has not figured out who first reported his death or why he had been singled out. Over the last weekend in January, he fielded over 400 calls from people asking if he had died.

My mother had to serve endless cups of tea to visitors and convince them that I was alive.

Eventually Upadhyay figured that if he could not control social media, he might as well participate.

“I am Rahul Upadhyay,” he said in a recorded message sent out into cyberspace. “I am well and I have not even received a scratch.”

11 responses to “Indian journalist ‘martyred’ as Hindus and Muslims clash”

  1. Broga says:

    Religion: an affliction on the human species which has the malign effect of causing the believers of the incredible to destroy those, including their environment, who want no part of it.

  2. AgentCormac says:

    The stupidity, intolerance and inclination to violence of those who adhere to religion is staggering. And it’s all based on absolutely nothing other than collective fantasy. Speaking of which, if you haven’t already read Yuval Noah Harari’s wonderful book ‘Sapiens’, I would encourage you to do so. Amongst a great many other revelatory insights it explains with clarity and informed authority how and why homo sapiens created the myths and rituals which form the basis of all religions. It really is superb, eye-opening stuff.

  3. RussellW says:

    Makes me wonder how many famous martyrs thoughout history were also fictitious.

    Agent Cormac,
    I’ll read it. Another informative text is “Why we believe in God/s’. It’s a rather slim volume but worth reading.

  4. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    Excellent write-up Barry. Hindu society is divided into 4 main castes and numerous sub-castes. It is therefore highly fragmented. During the ancient times numerous Hindu Kings used to fight for domination against each other. They were subjugated by the Muslim invaders, who ruled for centuries. Then the Britishers controlled the lands. Hindus therefore are a beaten race but continue to live in a fantasy land of made up past glories. BJP is a Hindu Right wing party now that they have got power they try to shove Hinduism in everything. The irony is that the ancestors of all Muslims in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh,were forcibly converted to Islam or became Muslims in order to get concessions from the ruling Muslim Kings. At the end of the day both Hindus as well as Muslims are religious zombies.

  5. 1859 says:

    As long as the zombies kill each other I don’t mind too much. It’s when these religious zombies go after those who want no part of their madness that the true depth of their ugly fanaticism becomes a serious issue. Human beings are quite a strange species – our tribalistic ways of thinking are massively powerful. If these different groups didn’t have religion to fight over they would quickly find some other difference to squabble over – maybe the different shape of their noses. They would all do well to read a book written over 200 years ago called Gulliver’s Travels where the Big Enders are at war with the Little Enders and nobody knows why. Finally it is discovered by Gulliver that they are at war because the Big Enders open their eggs at the Big End while the Little Enders open theirs at the Little End. Hindus and Muslims, Protestants and Catholics, Arsenal and Man United, White man and Black – we’re all, in our own odd way Little Enders or Big Enders still opening our stupid eggs.

  6. Broga says:

    AgentCormac ” if you haven’t already read Yuval Noah Harari’s wonderful book ‘Sapiens’, I would encourage you to do so.”

    I would echo that. I started reading it on kindle yesterday evening and although I have not read much I am already enthralled and enlightened. The chapter on thinking with its description of the weaknesses and inadequacies of the human body (made in God’s image?) really got me hooked.

    One of the pleasures and advantages of this site is that books are occasionally recommended that I would have been sorry to have missed. This is very definitely one of them. Thanks.

  7. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    “Finally it is discovered by Gulliver that they are at war because the Big Enders open their eggs at the Big End while the Little Enders open theirs at the Little End. Hindus and Muslims, Protestants and Catholics, Arsenal and Man United, White man and Black – we’re all, in our own odd way Little Enders or Big Enders still opening our stupid eggs”. Excellent description 1859 🙂

  8. Brummie says:

    Tribalism is unfortunately innate in humankind. We need to recognise this fact and aim to diffuse its worst aspects. Sport is a good example of (usually) benign competitiveness and tribal loyalty. Forced multi-culturalism is a well meaning but doomed concept because it seeks to ignore that human tribal trait rather than deal with it.
    We all need a sense of belonging; whether is it Manchester United, the Chess Club, Irishness or the Flat-earth Society, but tolerance of intolerance is always unacceptable in my view.

  9. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    Brummie you are spot-on in saying that Tribalism is innate in humankind. Years back during my days in The Netherlands, I used to watch a T.V series by the name of ‘America’s Hardest Prisons’. It mentioned that U.S jails have 3 major gangs comprising of whites, blacks & the Mexicans. When any new inmate arrives in the prison he/she drifts towards prison members belonging to his/her ethnicity. The new prisoner ultimately ends up getting exploited, entrapped and cheated mostly by fellow inmates belonging to the same race group.

  10. Vanity Unfair says:

    To RusselW:
    Makes me wonder how many famous martyrs thoughout history were also fictitious.

    I have no idea but since the first official collections only appeared in the C6 or C7 we can be certain that many of the stories have a tenuous relation to fact. Try to imagine writing a history of the Wars of the Roses (even the name is contentious; Encyclopaedia Britannica states, “the wars were named many years afterward from the supposed badges of the contending parties” https://www.britannica.com/event/Wars-of-the-Roses) without any trustworthy contemporary sources. (I know…)
    Back to the subject: Even a biassed source- http://www.catholic.org/encyclopedia/view.php?id=162 – trying to put a good face on the history and using special pleading is forced to admit that many- or most- of the accounts are spurious. This is neither to claim that no Christian has ever been persecuted, nor that some persecution is still inflicted. That would be dishonest. However, it is the case that historical accounts have to be treated with extreme caution. It is strange that the major Churches rarely, if ever, complain about current persecution in (e.g.) majority Islamic countries but do complain about “renaming Easter” or “the battle for Christmas.”

  11. RussellW says:

    Vanity Unfair,

    Yes. We will also never know how many Christian ‘saints’ were originally pagan gods.
    I agree with your last sentence . Many Western feminists are also strangely silent on the subject of Islamic mysogyny.