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!


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