Restoring Faith in Unity: Mumbai’s Iftar Parties
Mankhurd residents of all religions came together on April 28, 2022 for an Iftar party, weeks after the Ram Navami violence in the region. According to participant and local leader Jameela Begum, the response of the people reinforced the secular sentiment among the people.
On Thursday night, youth community ‘Ekta: The power of unity’ pooled together the money to hold the party at the Mankhurd transit camp. Organisers Vijay Thorat and Prakash Kumbhar aimed to bring together Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians as a show of secular unity. After the party at 7 PM, the team also held a Sai Bhandara after 9 PM.
“They honoured local activists and people who help the needy and fight for the locality’s basic facilities,” said Begum, who was one of the felicitated.
She fondly recollected how people from all religions sat at one table for iftar. This event also portrayed the prevalent co-existence of residents who often visit each other’s houses during Ramadan.
After the violence in Mankhurd by Hindutva miscreants, Begum was worried about the conditions of her area. However, since then, people have come together in support of each other. During a local mohalla committee creation meeting, Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey had promised that no such incident will happen again. True to his word, the region was heavily patrolled on Thursday night.
“People will succeed in maintaining this peace and unity. But there will be suffering along the way. However, with police patrolling every masjid street yesterday and people celebrating, I felt good,” said Begum.
Mankhurd wasn’t the only part of Mumbai to hold Iftar on that day.
Bandra’s Iftar party
An interfaith Iftar party at Saint Peter's Church, Bandra made the papers on Friday morning for its bringing together believers of all religions. The Church wished to increase mutual harmony and trust and stand with the Muslim community against the targeted violence.
“We are all together, every religion talks about living with peace and brotherhood, we have to trust in humanity and walk with each other, know each other better and share happiness and sorrows together,” said the head priest.
Everyone prayed collectively for peace during this interfaith iftar. Men and women also recited a special prayer together. Women offered Namaz together with people of different religions. Many young people also wrote messages of peace to spread the message of brotherhood.
Peace meeting at Kherwadi
Maulana Azad Vichar Manch President Hussain Dalwai organised the meeting at Purshottam High School on April 22 to discuss measures to reduce the ongoing communal tension. Cognisant of the loudspeaker issue, Dalwai called over 80 trustees of the 26 mosques in Baharampada, Bandra East and Nirmal Nagar police to the meeting.
All trustees resolved to follow the Supreme Court's guidelines regarding loudspeakers. This means the mosques will not use loudspeakers from 10 PM to 6 AM. Accordingly, senior police officers assured them of support in keeping with the spirit of secular India.
CJP Secretary Teesta Setalvad, who attended the event said, “We must imbibe the values of the Constitution. The answer to the hatred entering houses through our phones is by spreading stories of peace.”
Similarly, Dalwai said, “Every single person in all of us will come out from here and become Maulana Azad and Gandhi and gave the message of stopping riots.”
Mohalla / Ekta Committee
Then on April 21 the Constitution Promotion Committee at Matoshree Ramabai Utkarsh Sangh, Chembur spoke about how Mumbaikars are troubled about the communal targeting in India. During an ekta meeting in the evening,
People talked about addressing the matter of peace more vigorously so that tension-prone localities do not get communalised. Focused on constitutional values among Dalit and Muslim communities, organisation members resolved to try at their level to keep their localities safe. Those who saw the Mumbai riots of 1992-93 stressed that future generations should not witness such carnage.
PC Pandey also joined the meeting and assured citizens that the police will not allow the city's atmosphere to deteriorate.
“Mumbai Police stands with the common citizens and completely against rioters,” said Pandey.
Setalvad, who was presiding over the meeting, called upon the youth to come forward and said, “This is your time, we are with you. Come forward.”
Attendees pledged to start work in this direction and work with the police to protect religious harmony.
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