After the media outcry over the Tablighi Jamaat incident, a wave of sectarian hatred is sweeping the county
Mohd Aasif | Clarion India
NEW DELHI – Amid the ongoing total lockdown enforced in the country to contain the spread of Coronavirus, resident welfare associations (RWAs) in Delhi’s Shastri Nagar area have introduced restrictions on entry of so-called strangers as part of “social distancing.” While they claimed that the rule is not targeted against any particular community, a video in circulation on the social media calls their bluff.
After the media storm over the Tablighi Jamaat incident, a wave of sectarian hatred is sweeping the county. The spade of fake news reports claiming the Muslims are consciously spreading the virus are contributing to the alienation of an already besieged community. The diktat seems to be a logical outcome of the hate campaign.
The video of a meeting at some place in the Shastri Nagar area has gone viral on the social media. The video showed someone making an appeal to the people to not allow people without Aadhar card inside their colonies.
However, hawkers and fruit and vegetable sellers, who have been regular to the area, are allowed to enter. When asked about the call given in the video, Mukesh Chauhan, general secretary of the Residential Welfare Association of Rani Garden of Shastri Nagar, said, “We don’t allow strangers to enter the area.”
Though office-bearers of different RWAs insisted the decision applies to the people of all communities, the video clearly asks people not to let Muslims enter their premises. Explaining the purpose for the Aadhar card criterion for entry, general secretary of Sarojini Park, Kailash Babu said, “It helps us identify if someone comes from the (Tablighi) Jamaat.”
Babu told Clarion India that a section of the society is trying to disrupt the lockdown. Also, people or terrorists with fake names and identity could enter their colonies to spread the virus. Their biggest fear is from the people of Tablighi Jamaat, he added.
Chauhan, on the other hand, vehemently denied such a discriminatory appeal saying they were reporting to police entry of anyone suspected to be from Saudi Arabia or any other foreign country. “Be it Hindu or Muslim, we are referring them to police if they look like foreigners,” said Chauhan.
The move came in for strong condemnation from different quarters. President of All India Muslim Majlis e Mushawarat, Navaid Hamid, called it an attempt to break the financial backbone of the Muslim community as preached by Hindutva groups.
Referring to an unwritten code whereby Muslims can’t buy properties in the Hindu dominated areas of several metropolitan cities, Hamid said, “Now, a Muslim will not be allowed to pass through an area. This paves the way for the ‘balkanization’ in the country.”
Delhi State Secretary of Lokraj Sangathan, Birju Nayak called the entry ban on the basis of religion “discriminatory” and “inappropriate”. “Coronavirus has nothing to do with any religion or Jamaat,” he said, adding that the state had acted carelessly.
Condemning the decision, Amarjeet Kumar, secretary, AIDYO, Delhi State, said, “Most important fact is that the Tablighi Jamaat does not represent the entire Muslim community.”
Foretelling the repercussions of the act, Kumar further said that it would destroy the lives of daily wage labourers and hawkers. “The hatred is the outcome of the absence of secularism and scientific bent of mind among the people and it will also harm those who spread it”.