Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind chief Maulana Mahmood Asad Madani wrote a letter on Tuesday to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami putting forth “deep” concerns about the rising communal tensions in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi district and the “over the open threat of expulsion of the Muslim community in Uttarkashi Uttarakhand”.
In his letter, Madani urged the Home Minister and the Chief Minister to stop the upcoming mahapanchayat on June 15, called by right-wing organisations, stating that it may lead to further communal violence in the state.
There has been tension in Uttarkashi since May 26 when two men attempted to kidnap a girl. This led to many right-wing groups labelling it a ‘love jihad’ conspiracy.
He wrote, “I request you to halt the event (maha-panchayat) scheduled to be held on June 15, which may lead to a communal conflict in the state and further increase the gulf between Hindu and Muslim communities.”
The Uttarakashi district administration have also denied permission to the maha panchayat called by Hindu organisations on June 15.
Madani also requested them to take a strict action against “forces spreading division and to protect the lives and property of the citizens of India”.
He wrote that Uttarakhand was a state with exemplary law and order conditions and communal harmony and “what is happening in Uttarkashi does not match its nature”.
He further added, “I not only request you to personally intervene and issue the necessary order but also to take strict action against divisive forces, besides instructing the law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety and security of every citizen irrespective of their religion and ethnic background .”
What led to the communal tensions?
On May 26, two men, identified as Ubed Khan (24) and Jitender Saini (23), allegedly attempted to abduct a 14-year-old girl. The two were arrested the following day.
Right-wing groups claimed it to be a ‘love jihad’ conspiracy. On May 29, a protest march in Purola turned violent after some of the agitators attacked shops belonging to the Muslims. A similar protest was held on June 3.
Posters threatening Muslim traders to shut shops by June 15 surfaced amid the protests. Muslim religious leaders in Uttarakhand’s Dehradun have also called for a “mahapanchayat” on June 18 to protest what they said is “increasing targeting” of their community.
In his letter, Madani also said, “The inaction on the part of the government and its agencies further aggravated this critical communal situation. They are openly putting up posters and releasing videos and unfortunately, local police are standing as mere spectators. The increasing Islamophobia and communalism in the state are further dividing society and eroding communal harmony,” he added.
Muslim bodies meet with Dhami
Members of the Uttarakhand Waqf Board and the Haj Committee met with chief minister Dhami on Tuesday to take strict action against those “harassing” Muslims in Purola town.
The members submitted a memorandum to the CM which states that the Muslims living in the state were “hurt, harassed and scared”.
Peace meet failed to conclude
A peace meet held by administrative officials on Monday in Purola town to bring peace in the town failed to reach a consensus.
The meeting was conducted with right-wing organisations, Muslim community members and trade association members. As it was about to reach a consensus, several uninvited men barged in and disrupted the discussion, media reports stated.
The men pointed at Muslim community members and questioned them saying, if a few of the shopkeepers have already left, why couldn’t the remaining leave too. This led to heated arguments and no conclusion was reached.