Communal poison in Delhi’s air: open Mahapanchayat against Muharram procession in Bawana

Ayushi Rawat

Today some of us reached Bawana on getting the news of possible communal tension since a Mahapanchayat had been called by some Hindu right wing groups to incite against the Muharram (Tajiya) procession yet to happen on the 4th of November. This was a part of the on-going tension that started at the time of Eid this year.

Listening to the Mahapanchayat was a horrific experience but even more crushing was the vulgar State-Hindutva nexus that was being displayed on stage. The right wing leaders along with the BJP MLA Gugan Singh Ranga present on stage and the ACP attending the tamasha. The meeting was basically called as a show of power as well as a part of the larger fear generating and hate instigating mechanism of the fascist forces. Every speaker on the stage came and aggressively spoke about why the Tajiya should not be allowed to enter the Bawana village area and that the Muslim community should restrict itself to taking out the procession “only in their area”; they went to the extent of saying that they have collected over 3500 signatures for the same and informed the administration and openly warned in public that if this demand was not accepted, the consequences would be dire, “Agar Tajiya yahan se nikla toh jo bhi maar-kaat hogi uske liye hum zimmedaar nahi honge” (If the procession moves from here, then whatever violence happens, we will not be responsible for that).

With statements like, “Tajiya nahi niklega, hum khuli chunauti dete hain.. Hum yahan ke moolnivaasi hain… Hum sankalp lete hain ki hum hamare gharon ke saamne se Tajiya nahi nikalne denge.. Hum kamzor nahi hain…” (The procession will not go from here, we are giving an open challenge… We are the original inhabitants… We pledge that we will not let the procession go from in front of our houses… We are not weak…) There were repeated appeals to the close to 1000 yuva, the youth (which implies young macho-muscular adrenaline-infused boys) to instigate violence and be ready to oppose the procession’s entry strongly, with whatever means that they would find fit. The number of hate speeches was endless, references to words like talwaar and petrol were endless, the threats were endless, the voice was always aggressive, and the references to the legitimacy that “Modi Sarkar” now gives to these Mahapanchayats and ensuing riots were blatant. Towards the end, there was an open in public announcement that, “Sabhi bhai apne phone numbers yahan par likh dein.. Taaki hum gopniya tareeke se aap logon ko bata sake ki 4 taarikh ko kya karna hai.. Aap 4 taarikh ko tayyar rahein, Tajiya sham ko niklega…” (All the brothers should write down their phone numbers here… So that we can secretly inform you that what is to be done on the 4th of November… All of you be ready on the 4th, the Muharram procession would be in the evening…)

What is this if not an open instigation for a pogrom? It is only after we went and interacted with some people in the J.J. Colony, which is where the Muslim population mainly resides, that we got to know that the decision for not taking out the Tajiya in the Bawana village area was already deliberately taken by the Muslim community on 28th of October after the ACP appealed to them to do so. Some leaders in the community said that they did not want to incite violence, they did not want any tension to further deepen and that is why they decided to do so. Then what is the meaning of this show of power and Mahapanchayat, asked some of the young people in J.J. Colony. The youth seemed very hurt by the rise in such incidences after the new government came to power. One of the young boys said, “Hum Diwali bhi manate hain, Holi jab hoti hai toh wo bhi manate hain, hum musalmaan hain phir bhi hum sochte hain ki hum respect karte hain.. Ye desh jitna hinduon ka hai utna hi musalmaano ka bhi hai.. Phir hamare tyohaaron pe ye is tarah se kyun kar rahe hain?” (We celebrate Diwali, we also celebrate Holi, we are Muslims yet we respect… This country belongs to Muslims as much as it belongs to Hindus, then why such discrimination towards our festivals.) They also reported that there was no such feelings of communal hatred among the Hindus and Muslims residing in J.J. Colony, and that all those 1000 young men attending the Mahapanchayat mostly were not locals and were called from outside.

But this, the State does not find wrongful, this they do not find criminal, this they do not find threatening, this they think is something that they can enjoy with cups of chai and samosas without blinking a bloody eye! Shame on the Indian State!

  • Sal P

    When the butcher ruling the country his Sangh followers can get away with anything.

  • Neha Sohail Farooqi

    I would like to congratulate Ayushi Rawat for speaking up against the Indian Government for the sake of the Muslim Community in India.
    It is a blunt response by her, and I admire the way she has stood up for the right thing. May ALLAH bless her for this act of bravery.
    The Indian Government should NOT underestimate the power of the Muslim people, it is true that the country is theirs too. India is a part of them. Let them be.
    The Muharram procession is not an act of violence for any other peoples, it is something deeply embedded in the Shiah Culture and they are not stopped anywhere in the world. It is a way to express grief for Imam Hussain (AS).
    The Indian Government officials, particularly Modi, should start reading as he is going to bring chaos to his own country if he doesn’t mend his ways. Please.. Tolerate differences. Be less afraid. Don’t act in haste. These power structures will come down crushing you in the end.

    • Varun Bhardwaj

      Totally agree with your views Neha and you are correct but don’t you think the same should be implemented in your country as well that is Pakistan where there are hardly any hindus left? P.S this is not a religious comment she is from Pakistan https://www.facebook.com/neha.s.farooqi

      • Neha Sohail Farooqi

        Varun. Who’s from Pakistan I’m sorry? Ayushi Rawat?
        And who told you that there aren’t any Hindus left in Pakistan? haha. I will read into it but I think its a misconception. The Sindh province here is in fact a very popular place when it comes to Hindus. I live in Lahore, Punjab. I haven’t traveled to Karachi or anywhere in Sindh for that matter. So I don’t really know. But as far as I have read, and there was this report this year on a local news channel, I guess it was Holi? I’m sorry I dont remember the event but there are Hindus here. 🙂 It was a live coverage of them celebrating some religious festival which was quite a sight. And I agree with you. Pakistan is a mess when it comes to governance. We seriously wish to see things change. We dont want any person, from any religion to be killed only on the basis that they dont believe in what we believe. That’s bull shit you know. If you see my facebook profile, you’ll know what we guys talk about all the time.

        • Neha Sohail Farooqi

          and yes we need to implement a lot of stuff here.

          • Varunn Bhardwaj

            Well read my reply. I said there are hardly any Hindus left in Pakistan. Since the link there is to your profile I was not at all talking about Ayushi. We don’t have access to Pakistani news channel here. Now taking into consideration the facts during partition Pakistan had 22% hindus which are now 1.6%, whereas in India Islam is the second most followed religion. If I see your fb profile, I might see what you talk about, but for what I see on FB most Pakistanis are busy degrading our Cricketers, our politicians and us. The problem with you guys is that of education which is gripping India too, you happen to be the first intellectual from across the border I am having a conversation with over here, an educated Muslim from Pakistan who is not a celebrity.

          • Neha Sohail Farooqi

            Haha. Well that is really nice of you to consider. I agree with you again on this one point that there are people, numerous of them I’d say who criticize Indian cricketers, politicians and so on. But have you ever noticed? We criticize our own politicians like hell and they rightly deserve it.
            I dont exactly know what happens at your end of the border but the kind of people I hang out with, we talk about things that do not involve sheer ridicule of any other nation, including Indians. I mean don’t you think we share a love and hate relationship? The fact you presented about Hindus in Pakistan, I was listening to this speaker on TV today, she was talking about the Hindus in Sindh, and I thought about your argument. Its true perhaps that Hindus are not treated well as a minority on a general scale. But Varun, we need to contemplate on another reality. I particularly do not encourage any sort of thing. I belong to an Army family, my father was an ex Army officer and most of my friends are Army brats. So when we talk about India, Indians, there is love and hate. Its this brutal past we have shared, the bloody partition, but before that what was it that was common between us?
            I love Jinnah. But I have never disliked Gandhi. I dont know whatever happened to all of us 65 years ago, is it justified or not. I dont know.
            What I do know is that I would never want a war. There are beautiful things that make us one. Why not focus on that?
            and yeah lastly, we really like Tendulkar. My mother says ALLAH has blessed that man with honor and dignity and love. What more could a man want?
            I admire Gandhi for the fact that he favored Imam Hussain as his ideal. I like India, I would want to dwell in with things there. Because I read, and Islam tells me to tolerate, to be nice to people, but if somebody slaps me at the face, I cant put up my other cheek like Gandhi said. I would beat the hell out of that person. My religion tells me to tolerate but its really me who’s stupid.
            So yeah we’re not bad as people might think. Its just some groups who are betraying the name of Islam.

          • Indian Voter

            Mr. Varun is right, In Pakistan there is no respect for minorities. I don’t believe you when you say you read, because if you really read you must have been aware of the atrocities that are being inflicted in the name of Islam (no less) on the hindus in Pakistan. Your flimsy excuse, of not travelled to Karachi or Sindh so not really aware about hindus belies the fact that you know exactly why and how hindus who were about 26% at the time of Partition in Pakistan are now in single digit percentage. The world has also forgotten hindus. The world remembers the genocide of Jews for a few years in Europe but does not want to talk about genocide of Hindus in Pakistan & Bangladesh for more than two generations now. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/08/forced-conversions-torment-pakistan-hindus-201481795524630505.html

            Beyond sermons about Islam & Allah being the religion of peace, when will we see it “in practice”. Not only in Pakistan, which you acknowledged, every where in the Islamic world here is extremism, terrorism, mayhem.

            I am surprised you writing for Shias in India. Why don’t you write on behalf of Shias, Ahmediyas, Sufis & Mohajirs who are being butchered in Pakistan.

            In India, there are parties like Congress & Samajwadi Party who come to power on the foundatiion of vote bank politics, these parties dont want the Hindus & Muslims to live in peace. They want to ensure that muslims live in a fear psychosis so that they keep voting for them.

            As far as Narendra Modi is concerned, he is truly a secular leader and
            be rest assured that Indian Muslims are our brothers and they are safe
            & secure here.

          • vinsin

            genocide of Punjabi Hindus, genocide in Bangladesh, silent genocide of Hindus in Pakistan after Independence, Supporting of genocide of Kashmiri Pandit.
            http://infocus.asiaportal.info/2012/09/14/ethnic-cleansing-and-genocidal-massacres-65-years-ago-by-ishtiaq-ahmed/#comment-22539
            You don’t have any minorities, Hindus are down from 22% to 1% and even in Bangladesh. Forget about Hindus, many Islamic sects are also unsafe in Pakistan.

    • vinsin

      Not exactly true the status of Muslim in India after partition was defined by liaquat nehru pact. Do Muslims tolerate differences? Non-muslims have only one country in the subcontinent that also you guys want to take from us. Every one is aware that given a chance Muslims will kill all non-muslims just like in all other Islamic state.
      You want Modi to change but don’t want to change yourself. So much problem then you can always move to Pakistan.

      • pcinpocket

        you are mistaken. if you think that there is only country that hindus
        lives in…and there are no intention of taking it from you. we born
        here. its our india as well. we serve it too. we want to be here. many of us are native indian, we are just coverted to some other religion. converting does not make us foreigner,,!!if so, then why not christians, jains, buhdist?? why only muslims? we do not want anything here. just the same rights which you have here. i am also a son to my mothreland, as you are. i am also proud of being indian as you are. we want india grow. do not think these things. we can do it together.

        • vinsin

          When did I talk about Hindus? Then why Muslims population has increased and increasing. Muslims can stay as Indians are not known for throwing people unlike Muslims but should not demand special status. Because India is a non Muslims state defined in partition act and Lahore declaration. Other religion have not demanded separate land historically.

          • pcinpocket

            “Muslims can stay, as Indians are not known for throwing people unlike Muslims but should not demand special status”
            so you think the muslims who stays here are not indians?? we are not here because you let us stay or you do not have “throwing nature.” grow up. we are as much as muslims as indians. and i agree, india ia a non musim state but it is also not a hindu state. AND WE ARE NOT ASKING ANY SPECIAL STATUS, we are just asking what is rightfully ours. if you can have a meeting or a procession then why can’t i??

          • vinsin

            Who am I to decide whether India Muslims are Indian or not? Most of them say they are not. Indian Muslims comes under Liaquat Nehru Pact. Not true Indian Muslims get special status in terms of women rights, child rights, animal rights, religious clothing and building laws.
            Don’t know exactly what do you meant by your last line?
            Hindu State/Dharmic State or whatever – yes India is not a Hindu state as manusmriti is not law of the land. India can become a Hindu protectionist state under International laws though, that is upto the parliamentarians to decide.
            I blame Nehru/Congress for never deciding the meaning of non-muslim state and BJP runs on Hindutva agenda. No secular party in India.

          • pcinpocket

            i have mentioned your part of comment.. you separated muslims from indians. and if any muslim is born in india and he says that he is not indian then trust me he is not a true muslims. because islam teaches us to love our motherland first. the news was about not having a procession in delhi. just because some of the party leader think that it disturbs the traffic and it is affecting the society. i justify the same thing in the last line. being an indian if you can have meeting or procession then even we are indian and we have equal rights. and again we are not demanding any special status. and if muslims have any, then i am not aware of it. as far i know, we are using our birth rights. we are using our rights as a human. and i really do not give a damn about congress or BJP or anyone for that matter. india is my motherland. i want everything for my motherland, what i wish for my mother.

          • vinsin

            Party leaders cannot make or take laws into their hand. If any procession has to be taken out then first the permission has to be taken from the local police station and it is responsibility of policemen to provide security.
            Indian constitution currently provide Muslims temporarily special status in terms of women rights, child rights, animal rights, religious clothing and building laws.

            Also Muslims get special status for banning religion and books in India ( even though non-muslims have demanded and started using those laws also) like True Furqan.

            It doesn’t matter whether you are demanding special rights or not it was decided by Nehru to do so and became one of the reason for Ambedkar to resign and Maulana Azad to hate Nehru for not making equal laws and declaring India a secular state. Many Muslims like Javed Akhtar, Salim Khan etc felt dejected that Nehru has thrown them to Maul-vis.

            Muslims in India comes under All India Muslims Law Board from 1974, only criminal laws are same not even rape laws.

            Both BJP and Congres are bad parties for India. India need a secular party as envisioned by Ambedkar. No party in India claims his ideology as secularism, most of the parties are based on Hindutva, Pluralism and Islamism in India.

            As the process of democracy moves on many things will settle on in the long term. I personally feel every decade publishing of religious percentage is a bad idea and also we need one child policy in some states of India.

            If you say you are Indian then you are Indian, if you say you are Muslims then you are Muslim and no one has the right to say otherwise.

            Indian constitution doesn’t separate Indian Muslims from others but partition act, Lahore declaration and Liaquat Nehru pact do so. Nehru was right in opposing inclusion of those in constitution.

            I personally believe in though separating Bengali Muslims and non-muslims to stop Bangladeshi infiltration from porous border. It would be communal but there is no other way to secure peace in Assam and in future Bengal and India in the long term.

          • pcinpocket

            totally agree with you and i really appreciate the knowledge you have shared. but i was giving my points on your one statement only. you separated muslims from indians “Muslims can stay, as Indians are not known for throwing people unlike Muslims but should not demand special status”.
            and by your above comment we do not demand any special status, but we already have it. and about the procession of Muharram. as i am a SHIA myself, i know that we conduct these procession in every possible part of the world. and obviously with the permission of authorities. as you can read the news above, the people have cancelled the procession because they did not wanted any communal clash. i agree with your rest of points..