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VHP accused for Beawar riots

Beawar: Riots that rocked Beawar and caused massive arson and communal tension in the town and nearby Naseerabad in Ajmer district are still haunting the residents of the two places. Riots that started on the eve of Muharram in Naseerabad and later spread to nearby Beawar have left deep scars on the memory of the embattled residents of the two places.

Curfew was imposed on Beawar town following a procession organized by the VHP on 16 April to protest against the construction of a mosque on government land in a nearby village, Raola Bari, situated some seven kms from here and the alleged beating up of the district administration team which had gone there to demolish the mosque.

Local people blame the VHP for vitiating the atmosphere in Beawar. They believe that the administration was hand-in-gloves with the instigators of the violence as it allowed the VHP to take out the procession despite a tense atmosphere and continuing curfew in the nearby Naseerabad. 'Police officials remained silent spectators to the VHP activists, shouting filthy and objectionable slogans on loudspeakers near a street leading to a Muslim locality' says Jamaat-e-Islami state president Engineer Muhammad Salim.

All Muslim bodies have taken strong objection to the administration’s permission to the VHP to stage the demonstration in the middle of such a sensitive situation. The situation in the entire Ajmer district has been sensitive since the communal violence erupted in Nasirabad on the eve of Muharram and there was no justification for allowing a demonstration in this situation.

Er. Salim has expressed his surprise over granting the permission to the VHP people despite night curfew continuing in the nearby Nasirabad. He said that the small piece of land over which the administration had a dispute with the Muslim community was in fact a platform where Muslims had been praying for the past fifty years. It was only recently that they decided to raise walls and roof in order to protect themselves from blistering heat. According to him, the Hindu residents of the area also helped them in the construction. The entire village is situated on 'Siwai Chak' (unconverted government land), which renders every building, house and place of worship constructed on it technically ‘unauthorized.’ Muslims in the village are of the opinion that officials at the village level misrepresented the facts before government officials which promptly issued a notice and sent its team to demolish the structure on 11 April. This led to the tension in the village and the situation was normalized only after the district magistrate assured to take action against the village patwari.

It was the VHP that later tried to hijack the issue in order to vitiate the atmosphere of a communally peaceful locality. Everyone, including the common people of the area, has condemned the VHP action.

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