The rally was organised following a letter to Delhi’s Lt. Governor by a resident association in Dwarka demanding cancellation of land allotted for the project
Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India
NEW DELHI — A rally marked by anti-Muslim hate speeches and slogans was organised by Hindutva supporters and local residents in West Delhi’s Dwarka on Friday in protest against Delhi government’s allotment of land for construction of Haj House in the area.
The rally which was streamed live on social media showed men marching down a road shouting slogans ‘Jai Shree Ram’ – a Hindu chant that has of late become a rallying cry of anti-Muslim mob violence in India.
The men also raised slogans like: “Yeh Bhoomi Hamari Hai, Iska Faisla Ham Karenege” or this land belongs to us (Hindus), we will take its decisions.
One video of the rally available on social media shows a Delhi resident Akhil Beswal asking Hindu to unite as he warns that if Haj House was allotted Muslims would grab the land and then set up a Madrassa and a graveyard and grow in numbers. “If you (Hindus) do not unite now, you will be forced to leave Delhi just like five lakh were forced to leave Kashmir in one night.”
An anti Muslim mahapanchayat was organized in New Delhi by right wing groups to protest the construction of a Hajj house in Dwarka sector 22. pic.twitter.com/VWFlG1CKLM
— Alishan Jafri | अलीशान (@asfreeasjafri) August 6, 2021
The rally was held a couple of days after a resident association in Dwarka shot a letter to Delhi’s Lt. Governor Anil Baijal, who also heads Delhi Development Authority (DDA), demanding cancellation of land allotted for the construction of Haj House in Sector 22. The association based their claim on the apprehension that building it would disturb the “brotherhood, harmony and peace” in the area.
A letter written on the notepad of the association makes a somewhat bizarre claim that if Haj House was constructed in Dawarka, “there will be every possibility of riots, migration of Hindus, and repetition of situation like Shaheen Bagh, Jafrabad and Kashmir.”
Dwarka is a sub-city divided in well-organised sectors and some villages in Delhi’s South West. Reports said that the government’s decision to construct a Haj House in the area was based on its proximity to Indira Gandhi International Airport. According to Indian Express, the plan to construct the Haj House in Dwarka sector 22 is more than a decade old. The foundation stone was laid in 2008 by the then Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit.
The resident association which claims to have 5,000 members on record opposes Haj House on the pretext that no such facility is available in the national capital to Hindu pilgrims. In 2018, the government allocated Rs 94 crore for the Haj House. The project has however been shelved for some years.
The letter requested the LG to cancel the allotment of land to Haj House “in the national interest” as also in view of the sentiments of Dwarka residents.
Some people strongly opposed the letter saying that the association does not represent every resident of Dwarka and that they were communalising the matter.
“Why have they woken up now when the land was allotted many years ago?” asked Shabnam Hashmi, a Dwarka resident who is a well-known human rights activist in Delhi’s civil society circles. “They want to communalise the situation. Otherwise Dwarka is a very cosmopolitan place. This group is backed by the BJP.”
How building a Haj House would lead to riots? Hashmi asked. “They are spreading hatred against Muslims.”
Following the letter flyers were distributed and shared on social media calling for a protest rally against the project.
The hate speeches in the rally were given in the presence of police men. The organisers had set up a proper stage and speeches were blared out through loudspeakers. Adesh Gupta, the head of BJP’s Delhi Unit, was also present in the rally who said the party supported the demands.
स्थानीय निवासियों व 360 ग्राम पंचायतों द्वारा द्वारका में बनने जा रहे हज हाउस के विरोध में विशाल धरना।
— Adesh Gupta (@adeshguptabjp) August 6, 2021
“We won’t allow them to do this. If they don’t listen to us, lakhs of people will give a befitting reply to the government,” said a speaker.
Another participant called Muslims filthy who should not be allowed to live in posh areas.
When Hashmi raised the issue of communal rally on twitter, the Dwarka DCP replied to her informing that, “Concerned SHOs have been directed to take lawful action, if any.”
While I have no interest in any Haj house being built here but how will it lead to riots ? ADRF is clearly spreading hatred against Muslims which is a criminal offence. Strongly condemn d highly communal content of this letter . Demand action against ADRF. pic.twitter.com/YTGGH028vE
— Shabnam Hashmi (@ShabnamHashmi) August 4, 2021
Clarion India approached Additional DCP, Dwarka, for comment who said he was not authorised to speak, adding only DCP can talk on this matter.
Repeated calls to DCP, Dwarka, Santosh Kumar Meena, went unanswered.