(West Delhi): That Muslims are not safe in the country, we knew for sure.
But we didn't know that things may come to such a pass that Muslims may be
asked to vacate their houses and go away from a Delhi locality with the
authorities looking the other way - something which happened only at the
time of Partition.
Seems strange? Even we did not take the news on its face value when we saw
a very brief news in Rashtriya Sahara, an Urdu newspaper published from
Delhi. To believe it was to totally discard the community’s long-held
faith in the law of the land despite all the sufferings spread over half a
century in the post-Partition era. To affirm ourselves wrong we decided to
check it ourselves. And behold, it was just tip of an iceberg.
their fate: Having run in vain from pillar to post for protection, Nangloi
locality Muslims stay put. Some residents seen here in front of their area
Rajdhani Park in Nangloi area in the
western part of the capital has been simmering for more than a month. The
area inhabited by an overwhelming majority of upper caste Hindus,
particularly Jats, is also inhabited by about 40 Muslim families. Muslims
are concentrated in 'D' block though there are one or two families
residing in adjoining areas too.
Everything went well till a couple of months ago. There was no tension. No
communal flare up was ever reported in the area.
Islamuddin's house, his son standing
in the lane
But all in a sudden things took an
unsavory turn. Qari Islamuddin, resident of house No 71 in ‘D’ block
of the area, was one fine day asked to leave his house. Koi katuwa hamare
muhalle men nahin rahega (no circumcised [a term of abuse for Muslims] is
going to live in our neigbourhood), he was told. He is the only Muslim in
Islamuddin has been living in this house for the last twenty years. He was
among the first ones to settle in the area. And he never faced this kind
of behaviour in the past. He was baffled. But he consoled himself that
things will calm down soon. But nothing changed. Instead, things started
worsening with every passing day.
It was with the arrival of one, 'Master' Shamsher Singh Rath, that
problems started. He first objected to the family of Islamuddin taking
water from the municipal tap in the lane. The tap is installed in front of
Master's house. Every family in the area had contributed to the expenses
when the water pipeline was laid. Master not only objected to water being
taken by Islam's family from the government tap, but denied them the right
to even come near the tap. Now they are forced to drink saline water they
get from a hand-pump they had to sink in their house. Master similarly
denies persons of backward Hindu castes the right to get water from the
It was just the beginning. The problem started spreading to the
surrounding areas. There too Muslims were denied access to water taps that
were installed with their financial contribution. They were subjected to
frequent quarrels on the issue.
Gradually things took more critical turn. It was the time when the local
RSS people jumped into the fray. A morning shakha of the saffronites is
organized every morning in front of the mosque in the ‘D’ block.
Though no harm has been done to the mosque, all the Muslims of the area
are being threatened to be killed. 'Whenever we pass by the morning parade
of the shakha we have to face a barrage of abuses from these people. Salon
ko dharti men zinda gaar do (bury these bastards alive) they chant
whenever we pass by them', says Muhammad Yaqub. His son is threatened
routinely by the local in-charge of the shakha, Sumer, who runs a hardware
store in the vicinity and resides in ‘B’ block of the Rajdhani Park.
More mischief followed. Ismail Malik, who runs a cable network in the
area, was asked to stop transmission He did not pay attention to the
threats. According to the local people, Sumer and Master Shamsher
alongwith a number of their followers campaigned against them in all the
houses who subscribed to the cable service. Every Hindu family was
approached and asked to stop using Malik's services. Later they said that
anyone using their service will become non-Hindu.
Malik brothers had not anticipated the outcome of this malicious campaign.
One fine day, around 300 people gathered and cut transmission cables of
his network. As if that was not enough, they also cut the cables into
small pieces and carried the cables to their houses, leaving the family
and other neighbours in a state of utter shock. They could not do anything
despite incurring heavy losses.
Muslim shop-keepers were also targeted by these people who asked the
residents to boycott Muslim shops. Butchers were forced to down their
shutters in the area, leaving them in abject penury.
A number of residents in the area, including Islamuddin, were asked to
sell their houses for a pittance and vanish from the area. Several Muslim
houses regularly find bricks raining down their houses. This correspondent
also saw several bricks in Islamuddin's house which were allegedly thrown
by the wife of Master Shamsher.
These victims of hate have approached all people who matter to get
justice. They have complained to Home Minister LK Advani, National Human
Rights Commission, National Minorities Commission, Delhi Police
Commissioner, Deputy Police Commissioner etc.. The National Minorities
Commission wrote a letter to the Delhi police commissioner to get the
matter investigated and solved. It is alleged that the area police is
working in tandem with these people. Local people allege that the police
has not done anything to solve the problem. Had the police taken stern
action against the perpetrators, the problem could not have blown up to
People of backward castes, who also reside in the vicinity, are also
finding themselves at the receiving end. They too are being targeted by
the very same people who want to evict Muslims from the area.
Others are downplaying the problem. They say that the issue is being blown
out of proportion by Islamuddin and some other residents. Master was not
available when this correspondent visited the area. A Hindu PCO owner of
the area told us that it is a quarrel between the wives of Islamuddin and
Master which have been blown up.
Whatever the challenge, the spirit of the people has not been dampened.
Despite the unlawful methods used against them, they are still in high
spirit and refuse to vacate their houses. For them it is a question of
life and death. q
Photographs: Ahmad Rahmani