IN A bid to quell the escalating communal tensions in Aligarh’s Babri Mandi over the past few days, the district administration Wednesday brought the members of Hindu and Muslim communities together for a meeting at the City Kotwali police station.
At the gathering of nearly 500 people, Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Awadhesh Tiwari recited shlokas from Gita and verses from Quran to spread the message of peace and brotherhood, and asked the two communities to shed the tension.
The administration’s initiative failed to evoke the desired response at first, with the two sides entering into verbal altercations every time an allegation was made. But the ADM persisted with the idea as he assured the Hindu community of “complete security” and the Muslim community of “withdrawing FIRs” filed after the clash on July 20.
Community members then hugged each other and agreed to call off the tension.
“Ab hamare seene se seene mil gaye hain. Hum sab ek hain or nahin ladenge. ADM sahab ne kaha hai ki FIR (clash-related) bhi wapis ho jayegi,” said Haji Suhail, one of those named in the FIR who attened the peace meeting.
The 19-year-old girl who was allegedly molested said the meeting does not change anything for her. ‘Main mukadma wapis nahin loongi (I won’t withdraw the case),” she said.
Aligarh SSP Luv Kumar said the two accused have already been arrested in the molestation case and the situation in Babri Mandi is “under control”. “The peace meeting worked. We have called them again on Friday for another round of talks,” he said.
Meanwhile, some local businessmen groups have started a signature campaign against the ‘Hindu exodus’ in the area.
Tension has been brewing in Babri Mandi locality where both Muslim and Hindu families had claimed that they felt “unsafe.” The tension rose after a woman was molested and her husband attacked with a knife allegedly by four Muslim youths. This had led to a clash on June 20, following which many Hindu families had approached the administration to buy their houses and shops so they could move out.