Concerned about the growing tensions and exodus of Muslims from Uttarkashi has compelled the Muslim community to urge for peace. Muslim Seva Sangathan is the main organization organising this conclave or Mahapanchayat on June 18 in which people from Dehradun, Haridwar, Udham Singh Nagar, and Haldwani will participate. Through this conclave, the organisation wishes to make an appeal to not punish the innocent Muslims.
Waseem Ahmed, media in-charge of Muslim Seva Sangathan told Hindustan Times, “A meeting of Muslim religious leaders was chaired by Dehradun’s Shehar Qazi Mohammad Ahmad Qasmi on Saturday to discuss the current atmosphere of hatred against Muslims across Uttarakhand. A mahapanchayat of Muslim religious leaders will be held on June 18. People from across the state, including Dehradun, Haridwar, Udham Singh Nagar, and Haldwani will participate”.
Mohammad Ahmad Qasmi, Dehradun’s Shehar Qazi, while speaking to HT said: “In the hills, innocent Muslims are being forced out. Those who have committed the crime should be punished. The whole community should not be targeted and rendered unemployed because of one person.”
The announcement of this Muslim mahapanchayat did not go down well with the right wing. Swami Darshan Bharti, founder of Devbhoomi Raksha Abhiyan and one who made objectionable statements against Muslims in Uttarakhand. He had said, “Keep an eye on love Jihadis who are wolves in the form of plumbers, electricians, mechanics, and masons around you. Beware and identify these wolves.”
“You need to protect the dignity of your sisters,” he said and followed this with raising slogans of “Jai Shree Ram”. Addressing a crowd of women, he said that women should beware of these “Love jihadi wolves” and that they should not show any generosity towards them (Muslims)
“Keep an eye on love Jihadis who are wolves in the form of plumbers, electricians, mechanics, and masons around you. Beware and identity these wolves.”
This speech(111K views) by Darshan Bharti was uploaded on FB on May 24 and attacks on Muslims in Uttrakhand started on May 26. pic.twitter.com/yu2FrxybKB
— Vipul Kumar (@vipulizm) June 11, 2023
Bharti said, in response to the Muslim Mahapanchayat, “We will not allow this (mahapanchayat by Muslims) to happen even if we have to take a big step,” reported HT.
Dehradun additional district magistrate (ADM) Shiv Kumar Baranwal said that they have not received any request for permission for Mahapanchayat and if sought, they will take appropriate action.
A Mahapanchayat is set to be held on June 15 by the right wing groups as well to further target the Muslim community.
It can be said that an incident of the abduction of a Hindu girl was merely used as a pretext to cause this mass exodus by creating an atmosphere of terror lined with threats. As class nine student was allegedly abducted by two men, Ubed Khan (24) and Jitendra Kumar Saini (23) who were arrested on May 27. On May 29, a procession was carried out by right wing groups as also businessmen of the area last week and shouted slogans against targeting the Muslim community while threatening them to vacate their shops. Fearing violence, 42 shopkeepers and vendors like street hawkers, vegetable vendors, bicycle repair persons and other such small businesses reportedly fled the area.
The protesting group also sent a memorandum to the Governor through SDM Devanand Sharma demanding the immediate removal of businessmen from a particular (read Muslim) community, with a criminal mindset.
The protest march in Purola on May 29 had turned violent whereby Muslim shops were attacked and over 900 people had taken part in this mob. The memorandum sent by the protestors said, “In the garb of doing business in the town, some people from a particular community have been indulging in immoral activities… thereby, polluting the atmosphere,” as reported by HT.
A detailed timeline of events in Uttarkashi can be read here.