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They have been living in Bawana since 2004 and over the years have taken out several Muharram processions. However, Muslims in the resettlement colony say that since the past two years, opposition to such processions has intensified in the area.
They feared that even though they had agreed to limit the procession route within the colony, as was demanded by villagers who held a Mahapanchayat on the issue on Sunday, the peace achieved could be temporary.
On condition of anonymity, some of them said the decision to limit the procession was taken after Muslims from the villages held a meeting with those in the resettlement colony and expressed concern over their own safety in case a Muharram procession passed through Hindu dominated areas.
Last month, the area witnessed communal tension when a group claiming to be ‘cow saviours’ ( gauraksha dal ) raked up the issue of “frequent cow slaughter in the area” and allegedly conducted a search in several houses. Cow protection was a recurring theme in Sunday’s Mahapanchayat as well.
The issue was sorted out with the police intervening and ensuring an incident-free Eid al-Azha; the Muharram issue was raised a few days after the festival.
Even though they did not name any political group, many used the umbrella term of “Hindutva politics” for the forces who, according to them, were trying to polarise the two major communities on religious lines.
Both the BJP MLA and the Congress councillor from the area addressed the Mahapanchayat and argued in favour of restricting the route of the procession scheduled on November 4 this year.
Muslims in the area also blamed the Aam Aadmi Party for not stepping in during their time of need. “They have been vocal in the case of Trilokpuri but did not even bother to visit Bawana when attempts of spreading communal tension were being made here,” said a resident who did not wish to be named.
Shopkeepers in the area from where the processions are traditionally carried out had a different take on the issue. “We don’t want any processions in the area. The procession is violent and our children are scared,” said one.
From: The Hindu