Communal tension is rising in Northwest Delhi’s Bawana locality two days ahead of Muharram.
On Sunday, a large number of Hindu residents from villages took part in a mahapanchayat, which demanded that a taziya procession be barred from passing through Bawana village and the main marketplace as the religious procession was “provocative and violent”.
Leaders at the mahapanchayat, which saw the presence and support of BJP MLA from the area, Gugan Singh, said if the taziya procession was to be carried out, “the administration would be responsible for the violence that will ensue”.
In the first week of October, there was similar tension in Bawana before Eid, with Hindus alleging that their cattle was being stolen and sacrificed by Muslims.
Posters urging “Hindu unity” were distributed ahead of the gathering. Pradeep Gaur of Bawana village said, “They wield swords and use fire in a show of strength. They are free to do it outside their homes, but we will not allow them to pass through our area.”
There were close to a thousand people present at the mahapanchayat where the crowd shouted slogans such as “gau mata ki jai”.
Dharmendra Yadav, from Kanjhawala village said, “We have taken our request to police and the administration with more than three thousand signatures. If the procession still takes place, the administration will be responsible for the violence that will follow. The taziya will not pass at any cost.”
While organisers said the panchayat was not political, MLA Gugan Singh extended his support and said “they don’t have the right to disturb others”.
“Let them do what they have to in their homes. We have ensured from this show of strength that no taziya will pass through here,” Singh said.
Raees Khan, a resident of JJ Colony in the area where taziya has been taken out for the past seven years, said there was no reason for the aggression.
“We have told them that the procession will only be carried out in front of our homes,” he said. “We are a small community of around 75 homes in the area. We cannot afford trouble,” he said.
Another Muslim resident said the situation had become so tense that they were considering moving out of the area. “They had a problem when we celebrated Eid, and now Muharram. We are afraid to leave home wearing a skull cap,” he said.