Ranchi, India – When tens of thousands of parents in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand were celebrating the success of their children in the high school examination, there was a deafening silence in the house of Parwez Alam and Nikhat Perween.
Their only son Mudassir Alam had passed the state board exams with flying colours – securing 67 percent marks in the results announced on Wednesday.
But the 15-year-old was not home to celebrate with them.
Mudassir was allegedly shot dead by the police on June 10 during the protests in the state capital, Ranchi, over derogatory remarks made against Prophet Muhammad and his wife Aisha by members of India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
As relatives and well-wishers gathered at his house, only Nikhat’s sobs and the consoling words of her husband Parwez, who sells fruits on a pushcart for a living, could be heard in their rented one-room house in Hindpiri, a densely-populated lower middle-class predominantly Muslim neighbourhood behind Ranchi’s main market.
“My wife and I hoped that one day our son would acquire a good education, which would improve our financial situation. But the bullet of hatred took him away from us forever,” Parvez told Al Jazeera.
Nearly a month ago, Nupur Sharma, now suspended BJP spokeswoman, made offending remarks against the Prophet during a primetime debate on one of India’s leading news channels. Sharma’s comments were soon backed by another BJP official, Naveen Kumar Jindal, who tweeted in her support and made similar anti-Islam remarks.
The remarks set off protests across the country and triggered a diplomatic backlash against New Delhi after a number of Muslim-majority countries, mainly in the Arab world that usually enjoy close relations with India, summoned Indian…