Roorkee: On April 16, when violence erupted in Delhi's Jahangirpuri in a procession taken out on Hanuman Jayanti, a similar pattern was seen in Roorkee, Uttarakhand. There, too, violence broke out between Hindu and Muslim communities after anti-Muslim slogans were raised in front of a mosque during the procession at village Dada Jalalpur in Bhagwanpur area of Roorkee. The incident took place late in the evening of April16 April, following which the police has arrested 11 persons.
At the time of writing, the police had stationed bulldozers in the village and was allegedly threatening the accused within the Muslim community, asking them to surrender or face demolition of their houses.
What happened in Roorkee?
There are three villages in Dada area – Dada Patti, Dada Hasanpur and Dada Jalalpur. The procession or shobha yatra, was taken out jointly by people of these three villages and by some Hindu organisations. The dispute between the two communities arose when the Yatra reached Dada Jalalpur.
A local journalist told Newsclick on the condition of anonymity, that: “When the procession reached in front of the mosque in Dada Jalalpur, slogans like “Jai Shri Ram” “Hindustan mein rahena hai, toh Jai Shri Ram kehna hai” started. Songs were played loudly, similar to what happened in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri. The Muslim community asked them to move ahead as it was time to break the fast (roza), but they refused to budge and kept raising slogans. After that an argument took place which escalated into violence.”
There was stone-pelting from both side during the violence, and some vehicles were also set on fire. Around 10 people are reportedly injured in the violence. After this, there was heavy police deployment in the area, including SP Dehat, Pramendra Dobal. The police called an ambulance to send the injured to hospital. In all, six persons were arrested, all from the Muslim community.
Leaders of the Hindu organisations, including BJP leader Jai Bhagwan Saini, were insisting on completing the yatra. Talking to Newsclick, District Panchayat member Anil Saini said: “We put pressure on the police and in the presence of the DM, DIG, we took out the yatra at 1 p.m.”
As of now, there is tension in the village, as a result of which the Muslim community is hesitant and scared to talk. NewsClick tried but could not get in touch with any member of the Muslim community directly.
According to the purported video of that night’s shobha yatra, songs can be heard being played on vy DJ calling out Muslims as Pakistanis, abusing them with lewd words. Big sticks and saffron flags can be seen being waved by the crowd. BJP leader Jai Bhagwan Saini can also be seen there.
Heavy police force has been deployed in the village and the DIG Garhwal has said he was looking for more people.
Why did Police Bring out Bulldozers?
On the morning of Sunday April 17, the police registered an FIR and booked 12 named persons with 40 unidentified persons. After that, similar to the pattern of violence in Khargone, Madhya Pradesh, the police did something that is not yet recorded in any book of law.
According to some local residents, the police reached the village on Sunday morning with four bulldozers and threatened the Muslim community that if the stone-pelters did not surrender, their houses would be bulldozed.
SO PD Bhatt said: “A case has been registered against 12 persons (40 undentified persons too), including Khurshid, Shahnawaz, Hussain, Paigam, Niwajish, Riyaz, Rahis and Israr. Efforts are on to arrest others."
NewsClick spoke to Supreme Court lawyer Anas Tanveer to try and understand under which law the police administration was using bulldozers. He said: “There is not a single law which gives power to the government to demolish the house of an accused person. There is no such law in any state. This is completely illegal. The government is using the power which it does not have.”
Tanveer said, in fact, the law and order system has been demolished. “It is an unconstitutional act which is being done only to intimidate the minorities, it is a complete hooliganism,” he added.
The trail of communal violence started with Ram Navami processions and has now spread to many parts of the country till Hanuman Jayanti. There is need to understand the pattern of this violence. Be it in Jahangirpuri, Khargone or Bhagwanpur -- the pattern is the same that in the yatras, songs and slogans abusing Muslims are played in front of mosques. The yatra stops in Muslim-dominated areas, thereafter arguments start that turn into violence.
And when the police acts, a majority of those arrested belong to the Muslim community, FIRs are registered against them, and even their houses are demolished.
Bulldozers were first used in Khargone, Madhya Pradesh when, on the orders of Minister of State for Home, Narottam Mishra, the administration ransacked homes and shops of Muslims, and even razed a house built through PM Awas Yojana funds.
Meanwhile, some 'Saints' from Haridwar reached Bhagwanpur on Sunday. They were stopped by the police from entering the village.
One of the “saints”, Yatindranand Giri alleged that police officers were just creating a “spectacle”.
“A bulldozer exhibition has been organised by the police in Dada Jalalpur and a spectacle is being created. So far, no concrete action is being taken by the police”.
He said if the police had acted, the houses of stone pelters should have been bulldozed by now.
Later, addressing a press conference, Prabodhanand Giri of Hindu Raksha Vahini, talked about the 'purification' of Muslims and even said: "The whole state has come under the grip of Islam,” and accused the police of “protecting jihadis”.
Giri threatened that if the bulldozers do not run in two days, then there would be a religious parliament and saints from all over the country would gather there.
(Translated from Hindi by Aditi Nigam)