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What does Prakash Ambedkar hope to achieve by organising anti-Nupur Sharma protests?

The Dalit leader is planning a protest after Friday prayers on June 17; Muslim groups have opposed it, warned about miscreants infiltrating protests to turn them violent

Sabrangindia 16 Jun 2022

anti-Nupur SHarma
Image Courtesy: Twitter

Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) leader Prakash Ambedkarhas recently announced his plans to organise a demonstration on June 17 after Friday prayers to protest the derogatory remarks about Prophet Mohammed made by former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma.

Prakash Ambedkar, who is the grandson of freedom fighter and architect of the Constitution, Dr. BR Ambedkar, is a prominent Dalit rights activist and claims that his protest is aimed at seeking justice for ending the “politics of hate” with “brotherhood”. He has appealed to Mumbaikars to join his Aman Rally that will begin at 2 PM at the VBA office in Jhula Maidan in Madanpura and conclude at Azad Maidan.

However, given how various Muslim socio-cultural organisations are advising against the rally, in the interest of maintaining law and order, Ambedkar’s insistence on pushing through with the rally is rather curious.

Muslim organisations oppose rally

Meanwhile, several Muslim social organisations are opposed to this rally. In fact, the Raza Academy has written an open letter to Ambedkar, urging him to reconsider his decision in wake of the prevailing law and order situation in the country. Readers would recall that anti-Nupur Sharma protests have been taking place in different parts of the country and have turned violent in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Therefore, the Raza Academy fears that the protest could be highjacked by miscreants who could spark violence. “Dear friend, we hereby very earnestly appeal to your gracious self that the venture which you are undertaking with undoubted sincerity and zeal is very likely to be distorted and deformed by miscreants, and thus transformed into a grotesque and harmful event that would in turn damage our noble mission instead of promoting it,” said Raza Academy. The letter signed by Alhaaj Mohammed Saeed Noori (Founder and President, Raza Academy) and Sayed Moinuddin Ashraf (a.ka Moin Miya, a patron), further said, “Due to this apprehension which is influenced by previous unpleasant and painful experiences, we petition you to please call off the protest that you have planned and pray that you join the desired mission with a more infallible and dependable mode of activity.”

The letter may be read here:

Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi

Farid Sheikh, who heads the Mumbai Aman Committee, dismissed Ambedkar’s protest plans as a political stunt. “Woh siyasat kar rahe hain (he is engaging in politics). It is unnecessary, his party is struggling for political relevance. Unki niyat mein khot hai (His intentions are suspect),” he said adding, “We have held a series of meetings with shopkeepers, merchants, traders and other sections of the Muslim community in Mumbai and nobody is in favour of such a protest.” He further said, “We advise community members not to participate in this protest, as it is quite possible some miscreants will trigger violence and then the whole community will have to suffer.”

Similarly, the Ulema of the Sunni Bilal Masjid has also appealed for peace and requested people not to engage in protests. “Nobody has the right to take the law into their own hands,” said the Ulema adding, “You are welcome to pursue a legal course. If not today, then tomorrow, that lady (Nupur Sharma) will land up behind bars.” The Ulema had called for an urgent meeting of all senior clerics as soon as he got work of Ambedkar’s protest plans. He also had a discussion with local police. Addressing a press conference where these policemen as well as senior clerics were present, the Ulema further said, “Such violence is against Islam and against humanity. Don’t engage in such acts that bring shame to the community. We have held detailed discussions with lawyers and knowledgeable members of the community and decided that it is better to pursue legal action, instead of coming out on the streets and allowing emotions to turn into violence.”

Mumbai Police on high alert

Ever since the protests of June 10, Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil has instructed senior police officials to take appropriate precautions and keep the situation under control.The Home Minister has also appealed to all to maintain peace and take care that law and order situation does not arise anywhere in the state.

The Maharashtra administration is on high alert. Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey told SabrangIndia that he had requested the Dalit leader “to call of the protest”. He warned, “If he failed to call it off, he would face strict action.” Pandey further said that while he respected Ambedkar’s commitment to rights of minorities, such a protest “was not conducive to maintaining peace and harmony in the city.”

Previous instances of peaceful protests suddenly turning violent

The apprehensions about an outbreak of violence are not unfounded given what transpired in Kanpur, Allahabad, Ranchi and Howrah. In fact, in many cases, it is alleged that the violence was sparked by vested interests who used miscreants to infiltrate peaceful protests and then start pelting stones. Similar tactics were also allegedly used in violence that transpired during the Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti processions in Himmatnagar, Anand and Vadodara in Gujarat, Jahangirpuri in Delhi, and Khargone in Madhya Pradesh.

Therefore, the question remains – what does Prakash Ambedkar hope to accomplish by organising this protest on June 17? We tried speaking to Ambedkar, but he remained unreachable. This story will be updated with his quote later.

Related:

SC to hear urgent petitions against UP demolitions today
Bulldozer Injustice: Homes of alleged June 10 protesters to be demolished in UP?

What does Prakash Ambedkar hope to achieve by organising anti-Nupur Sharma protests?

The Dalit leader is planning a protest after Friday prayers on June 17; Muslim groups have opposed it, warned about miscreants infiltrating protests to turn them violent

anti-Nupur SHarma
Image Courtesy: Twitter

Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) leader Prakash Ambedkarhas recently announced his plans to organise a demonstration on June 17 after Friday prayers to protest the derogatory remarks about Prophet Mohammed made by former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma.

Prakash Ambedkar, who is the grandson of freedom fighter and architect of the Constitution, Dr. BR Ambedkar, is a prominent Dalit rights activist and claims that his protest is aimed at seeking justice for ending the “politics of hate” with “brotherhood”. He has appealed to Mumbaikars to join his Aman Rally that will begin at 2 PM at the VBA office in Jhula Maidan in Madanpura and conclude at Azad Maidan.

However, given how various Muslim socio-cultural organisations are advising against the rally, in the interest of maintaining law and order, Ambedkar’s insistence on pushing through with the rally is rather curious.

Muslim organisations oppose rally

Meanwhile, several Muslim social organisations are opposed to this rally. In fact, the Raza Academy has written an open letter to Ambedkar, urging him to reconsider his decision in wake of the prevailing law and order situation in the country. Readers would recall that anti-Nupur Sharma protests have been taking place in different parts of the country and have turned violent in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Therefore, the Raza Academy fears that the protest could be highjacked by miscreants who could spark violence. “Dear friend, we hereby very earnestly appeal to your gracious self that the venture which you are undertaking with undoubted sincerity and zeal is very likely to be distorted and deformed by miscreants, and thus transformed into a grotesque and harmful event that would in turn damage our noble mission instead of promoting it,” said Raza Academy. The letter signed by Alhaaj Mohammed Saeed Noori (Founder and President, Raza Academy) and Sayed Moinuddin Ashraf (a.ka Moin Miya, a patron), further said, “Due to this apprehension which is influenced by previous unpleasant and painful experiences, we petition you to please call off the protest that you have planned and pray that you join the desired mission with a more infallible and dependable mode of activity.”

The letter may be read here:

Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi

Farid Sheikh, who heads the Mumbai Aman Committee, dismissed Ambedkar’s protest plans as a political stunt. “Woh siyasat kar rahe hain (he is engaging in politics). It is unnecessary, his party is struggling for political relevance. Unki niyat mein khot hai (His intentions are suspect),” he said adding, “We have held a series of meetings with shopkeepers, merchants, traders and other sections of the Muslim community in Mumbai and nobody is in favour of such a protest.” He further said, “We advise community members not to participate in this protest, as it is quite possible some miscreants will trigger violence and then the whole community will have to suffer.”

Similarly, the Ulema of the Sunni Bilal Masjid has also appealed for peace and requested people not to engage in protests. “Nobody has the right to take the law into their own hands,” said the Ulema adding, “You are welcome to pursue a legal course. If not today, then tomorrow, that lady (Nupur Sharma) will land up behind bars.” The Ulema had called for an urgent meeting of all senior clerics as soon as he got work of Ambedkar’s protest plans. He also had a discussion with local police. Addressing a press conference where these policemen as well as senior clerics were present, the Ulema further said, “Such violence is against Islam and against humanity. Don’t engage in such acts that bring shame to the community. We have held detailed discussions with lawyers and knowledgeable members of the community and decided that it is better to pursue legal action, instead of coming out on the streets and allowing emotions to turn into violence.”

Mumbai Police on high alert

Ever since the protests of June 10, Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil has instructed senior police officials to take appropriate precautions and keep the situation under control.The Home Minister has also appealed to all to maintain peace and take care that law and order situation does not arise anywhere in the state.

The Maharashtra administration is on high alert. Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey told SabrangIndia that he had requested the Dalit leader “to call of the protest”. He warned, “If he failed to call it off, he would face strict action.” Pandey further said that while he respected Ambedkar’s commitment to rights of minorities, such a protest “was not conducive to maintaining peace and harmony in the city.”

Previous instances of peaceful protests suddenly turning violent

The apprehensions about an outbreak of violence are not unfounded given what transpired in Kanpur, Allahabad, Ranchi and Howrah. In fact, in many cases, it is alleged that the violence was sparked by vested interests who used miscreants to infiltrate peaceful protests and then start pelting stones. Similar tactics were also allegedly used in violence that transpired during the Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti processions in Himmatnagar, Anand and Vadodara in Gujarat, Jahangirpuri in Delhi, and Khargone in Madhya Pradesh.

Therefore, the question remains – what does Prakash Ambedkar hope to accomplish by organising this protest on June 17? We tried speaking to Ambedkar, but he remained unreachable. This story will be updated with his quote later.

Related:

SC to hear urgent petitions against UP demolitions today
Bulldozer Injustice: Homes of alleged June 10 protesters to be demolished in UP?

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