Haryana: Resolutions banning entry of Muslims traders withdrawn after authorities send show-cause notice

On August 3 and 4, around 50 village panchayats from three districts collectively signed boycott letters against Muslim traders, renting houses to Muslims
Image Courtesy: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Days after a resolution banning the entry of Muslims from three districts of Haryana was collectively signed by 50 villages panchayats and issued, two villages in Haryana’s Jhajjar district, Kablana and Mundakheda, have withdrawn the said resolution. Notably, around 50 village panchayats from three districts collectively signed the boycott letters on August 3 and 4. The two sarpanch could be heard expressing respect for every religion. The said withdrawal took place on August 9 after the district administration took cognisance of the situation. 

A video message of sarpanch Usha Devi from Kablana and sarpanch Kavita from Mundakheda surfaced on social media where they can be heard redacting their statements. In the video, Kablana’s sarpanch said, “This panchayat respects all religions, communities and castes. We don’t have any enmity with anyone and welcome all to our village irrespective of their religion”.

“Our intention was never to offend anyone’s religious feelings. The issuance of these letters was solely a precautionary step in response to a surge in cases of theft,” the sarpanch also said in the video message.

Pursuant to this, Mundakheda’s Sarpanch stated, “If it was portrayed as though we were side-lining a particular community, we are withdrawing the letter with a written statement.”

The video can be viewed here:

The boycott notices, issued after communal violence gripped the state of Haryana on July 31, attracted widespread criticism. Following communal clashes in Haryana’s Nuh and Gurugram, over 50 villages spanning Mahendargarh, Jhajjar, and Rewari had announced boycott of Muslim businesses and traders. It is also essential to note that on August 8, a plea was also moved in the Supreme Court against the calls of social and economic boycott of Muslims in multiple districts of Haryana.

What did the resolution entail?

On August 3 and 4, as selective targeting of Muslims expanded from Nuh, Haryana, to other districts, about 50 village panchayats from three different districts joined forces to sign the boycott letters. In the identically worded letters, prohibitions against Muslim shopkeepers and other members of the community from entering the separate areas were mentioned. Additionally, the aforementioned letters demanded that Muslims living in the areas provide the police with identification documents. It is essential to note that in majority of these villages, there is hardly any Muslim population.

As provided by the report of The Quint, a letter written by the gram panchayat of Mahendergarh’s Saidpur, dated August 3 provided, “In view of the communal violence in Nuh, the panchayat as well as villagers have taken a decision that ‘mischievous elements’ or ‘anyone from the Muslim community’ will not be allowed to conduct any trade or other activities in Saidpur”.

As reported by The Quint, copies of almost identical resolutions passed by village panchayats of Silapur, Bahila, Tajpur villages in Mahendragarh and Zainabad, and Chimnawas in Rewari district, besides other panchayats.

The Quint reported, one common line in all the letters was: “Woh log (Muslims) din mei gaon me recce karne ke liye aate hai or raat ko chori ko anjaam dete hai… (During the day, they (Muslims) come and do a recce and at night they come and steal)”

A change of heart as authorities stepped in

On August 9, Haryana Minister of State Social Justice & Empowerment Om Prakash Yadav had assured the media that strict action will be taken those who have issued the said boycott resolution.

On August 8, the divisional commissioner of Jhajjar had issued show cause notices to the sarpanch of Kablana and Munda Heda villages for issuing boycott calls against Muslims. Before the withdrawal surfaced, Jhajjar deputy commissioner Shakti Singh said that such boycott calls were against constitution. The DC also said the move seemed to be the handiwork of ‘fringe elements’ bent on spreading communal hatred following violence in Nuh and nearby areas.

 “We received the letter from Kablana and issued a show cause notice. They redacted the statement and apologised,” said Captain Shakti Singh, DC, Jhajjar.

More villages withdraw boycott letters

According to a report of the Times of India, another village head from Saidpur in Mahendargarh withdrew the boycott letter after getting legal counsel that singling out a community based on religion is illegal and unconstitutional. 

The village of Saharanwas in Rewari had also issued a boycott call exhorting local to not conduct business with, and rent out houses to Muslims. It is essential to note that not even one single Muslim resident lives in Saharanwas. On August 9, the sarpanch issued a letter withdrawing her earlier statement, as reported by the Indian Express

The report of the Indian Express also provided that the village sarpanch of Chimnawas, which is around 10 km from Rewari town, had also issued a similar boycott call. Krishna, the sarpanch of Saharanwas had said, “We have no ill-will towards Muslims. We just said that those who create violence should not be allowed into the village,” as per Indian Express. On August 9, sarpanch Krishna wrote that “The letter that prohibited Muslims was written due to oversight. We retract that statement.”

Her husband Vijay Singh, the former sarpanch, had further claimed the call was in response to cow vigilantes who had asked them to ensure that Muslims were not allowed inside.


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