Analysis

Communal Agenda Defeated In Delhi

Certainly, residents of Okhla must be hailed for having exercised restraint despite an attempt to provoke them by throwing parts of a dead animals inside a mosque. As in many similar cases across the country over the years, parts of the animal were deliberately placed there to excite communal tension in the area as a prelude to start a riot.

Restraint exercised by Okhla residents proves that attempts made to provoke socio-political tensions in Indian society, primarily with a political motive, have lost the communal fire and frenzy they earlier carried. Sadly, Indian politicians driven by obsession to provoke communal riots with a view to polarise society along religious lines, have not yet fully understood this message. If they had, they would have probably learnt that their recent attempts to provoke full-scale communal riots in Trilokpuri, a resettlement colony in East Delhi had not succeeded.

Residents of Trilokpuri, from day one, did not wish to fall victims to communal frenzy being deliberately provoked by a few politicians. Concern for security and safety prompted some of them to move out to other parts of Delhi to stay with their relatives or friends till tension eased in the area. A number of Muslims, who chose to stay behind, sent their children and female members to other places.

To prevent outrageous elements from provoking communal incidents on 10th Muharram (Nov. 4), apart from the police taking all possible steps, several Hindus also played their part in ensuring that taziya processions were not disturbed. It may be noted that rather than allow themselves to be provoked to the stage of indulging in communal rioting, as soon as they sensed that communal tension was in the air, several residents, with the help of police, started taking steps to check, control and prevent tension from escalating further.

Paradoxically, while steps were being taken to restore normalcy in Trilokpuri, provocative measures were being promoted in Bawana area of Northwest Delhi. A large meeting, attended by around a 1000 Hindus was held here on 2 November to oppose passing of taziya processions through their colonies. Rather than be embroiled in communal violence, Muslims agreed to reroute their Muharram procession. Nevertheless, the much-planned purpose had been partially achieved, that of spreading communal tension in Bawana. It has been described as planned because of the nature of Nov. 2 meeting which was labelled as “mahapanchayat.” A meeting of this scale, including participants from other states could not have been held at a moment’s notice and without some political backing. The same is suggested by communally provocative material distributed at this meeting, which must have been prepared and printed in advance.
There is a view that certain political miscreants are keen on communal tension gripping entire Delhi ahead of the assembly elections. Trilokpuri was their first target, followed by Bawana and a few other areas like Okhla. Even while tension prevailed in these areas, there were no signs of it spreading throughout the capital city. Residents played their part in ensuring that the communal fire was doused with their peaceful attempts before they and others were engulfed by the same.

Bawana case adds credence to the view that “communal” disturbances were planned in Trilokpuri and other areas like Okhla.  Several residents of Trilokpuri have stated that initially “tension” had no signs of being communal. Last month, there was a scuffle between several young men over gambling. The matter may not have escalated further if a few leaders had not decided to step in and give it a communal colour. This led to rumours being spread about a temporary place of worship, belonging to majority community, having been abused by members belonging to the minority community. Rumours were also spread about the former retaliating by abusing a place of worship of minorities. There is a view that these rumours were deliberately spread to cause communal polarization as a part of political campaign for Delhi assembly elections. Though there is as yet no evidence of any place of worship having been actually abused, a Hindu lady of the area feels that paid rioters probably indulged in such action to communally incite people of both communities.

Questions are now being asked as to whether communal tension was deliberately created in Trilokpuri and other areas to repeat Muzaffarnagar (Uttar Pradesh) here. A year ago, Muzaffarnagar was engulfed by communal riots, incited by “stories” being spread about love-jihad, which are now being exposed as fabricated stories.

A day before Muharram, “news” gave emphasis to Delhi being gripped by communal tension. After Muharram, with Muslim and Hindu residents joining hands in sensitive areas, reports highlighted that Delhi had proved to be a model of communal peace and harmony. Credit must be given to the local administration, police and other personnel deployed in the “communally” tense areas as well as to residents who refrained from being excited by planned communal frenzy. True, some miscreants are likely to keep trying to provoke religious tension, but against united Indians, the former’s communal strategies will face only defeat. Communal agenda of politicians will continue to be defeated by secularism of common Indians!

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 November 2014 on page no. 11

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