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Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Ballabhgarh Communal Violence: Back home, Atali Muslims have no work, find no buyers for their goods

The violence on May 25 allegedly saw 2,000 armed men target Muslim homes near an under-construction mosque, which served as the flashpoint for the violence.

Written by Aniruddha Ghosal | New Delhi | Updated: June 8, 2015 3:04:12 am
Ballabhgarh violence, Muslim community, Communal violence, Atali Muslims Muslims Jat clash, Muslim workers, Daily wage workers, Ballabhgarh communal tension, Delhi news Picking up the pieces. (Source: Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

The Muslim community has returned home after the rioting and has begun the process of rebuilding their lives. But the calm in Ballabhgarh’s Atali village can shatter any moment. Many daily-wage Muslim workers said they might leave the village, alleging that the Jat majority was refusing to buy their wares or give them work.

Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar visited Faridabad on Sunday, meeting top district officials, including the police commissioner and deputy commissioner. While the meeting was primarily about illegal mining in the Aravallis, sources said Khattar asked top officials to ensure peace in the village.

“We wanted the chief minister to come to Atali. Since he is not coming, the village’s Muslim elders will try and present their side of the story to him. But we don’t know if we will be allowed to,” Nizam Ali, a villager, said.

The violence on May 25 allegedly saw 2,000 armed men target Muslim homes near an under-construction mosque, which served as the flashpoint for the violence. While the Jat community maintained that the land on which the mosque was being built belonged to the gram panchayat, Muslims said it was Waqf land. Previously, a Faridabad court had ruled in favour of the Muslims.

The violence was primarily directed at the homes of Muslims who lived near the mosque. The daily-wage labourers live in a small colony on the outskirts. Many residents of the colony alleged there had been “meetings” near their homes, leading to further tension.

“Most of us sell goods to earn our livelihood. I sell clothes, while others sell food or fix pipelines. But since the violence, the Hindus in the village have shut their doors on us. We have earned no money since returning. If this continues, we will no longer be able to stay in Atali,” Shahid said.

After the violence, almost 150 Muslims had fled the village and taken shelter at the Ballabhgarh (City) police station, returning only on Wednesday. So far, no arrest has been made, while a section of the Jat community has approached the district court and sought a stay on the construction of the mosque.

“Ramzan is only a few weeks away and we were promised that we could begin constructing the mosque’s walls. But things are still tense in the village. Many are leaving, especially the daily-wage workers who fear another attack,” Mohammad Ehsan, a villager who works in Okhla, said.

Officials as well as the Jat community denied the allegations. “There have been no meetings and if people aren’t buying items from Muslims, it has nothing to do with their religion. We have no hatred for them,” Satish Chaudhury, a villager, said.

A senior official in the district administration added, “We are taking all steps to ensure there is no further outbreak of violence. People are tense, but slowly things are returning to normal.”

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