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Green signal to extremists
By Obaid Nasir, Lucknow

From Rae Bareli in UP to Thirunelvelli in Tamilnadu they have a clear and unambiguous message from their Mukhia (PM Vajpayee): demolish places of worship and express ‘national feelings.’ Newly constructed minaret of a mosque-cum-madrasa in Rae Bareli district was demolished the very next day of Mr Vajpayee's infamous statement regarding the Ayodhya episode that rocked not only parliament but the entire nation. Every reasonable person was asking one question: ‘how could a person of his stature issue such a statement violating all norms of decency and fairplay. The matter is sub judice and Prime Minister is attempting to influence the judicial process by his brazen statement.’'

As a reaction of this demolition two temples were stormed in Rae Bareli city causing disruption of peaceful life in this city of Maulana Abul Hasan Nadwi alias Ali Mian. 

Chief whip of Congress legislature party and local MLA, Akhilesh Singh rose to the occasion. He arranged a peace march and did his best to control the situation 

Even in Chilauli village, where the minaret of a mosque-cum-madrasa was demolished, good sense prevailed and both communities came to an understanding under which the damaged portion was repaired. The madrasa was allowed to run and local Muslims were free to offer namaz, outsiders were however discouraged to gather for any religious purpose. Local member of Parliament, Sonia Gandhi, rushed her close confidant and Rae Bareli MP Captain Satish Sharma to control the situation. 

Since Captain Sharma has represented the constituency earlier, most of the prominent persons are personally known to him. He called a meeting of local influential people and brought about the said agreement. 

In central UP, Moradabad city also came in the grip of communal tension over a mosque, compelling the administration to impose curfew. It took several days to bring the situation back to normalcy 

In eastern UP, Ballia, a constituency represented by former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, came in the grip of communal tension. One Shahzad was killed and many others were injured over a dispute related to a mosque. 

It seems as if the Prime Minister’s statement was an open signal for communal hawks to spread their wings and disrupt communal harmony. Keeping in mind this sudden flare-up in communal tension, UP administration was compelled to sound red alert all over the state. Neighbouring Mau district, which was rocked by communal violence during Dussehra, is once again sitting on the powder keg. Last Dussehra, due to communal tension, Bharat Milap and other functions related with Ram Lila were not held. Now the local Ram Lila committee, headed by a BJP leader, is insisting to bring out the Bharat milap procession whereas the administration is reluctant to allow it particularly through sensitive areas. The Ram Lila committee, VHP and Bajrang Dal leaders, have warned that if their processions will not be allowed they will not allow the Muslims to celebrate Eid. The administration is in a quandry. All these stray incidents apart, VHP has clearly warned to go ahead with its plan of the Ram Mandir construction the date of which will be declared in Kumbh Mela which is going to be held in Allahabad this month (January). This is definitely going to be a potential threat for communal harmony in the state. Next few months are going to be very crucial for general public in the state. Thank you Mr Prime Minister.

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