Okhla residents pleads ignorance about poster

A hoarding in Okhla on Saturday condemning Israel for attacks on Gaza. Photo: Monica Tiwari.

A hoarding in Okhla on Saturday condemning Israel for attacks on Gaza. Photo: Monica Tiwari.   | Photo Credit: Monica Tiwari


While three members of the Aam Aadmi Party’s Delhi unit — secretary Dilip Pandey and two other party workers — and three others were arrested by the Delhi Police on Friday on the charges of inciting violence between communities, the residents of Okhla, where one of the allegedly inflammatory posters was put up, claimed complete ignorance about the poster at the centre of the latest controversy.

The recent controversy surrounding the allegedly inflammatory poster is part of a larger problem, said Jamia Nagar MLA from Congress Asif Mohammad, who is one of the target of the poster — brought out allegedly by the AAP — which called upon the residents of his constituency to gherao him for “allying with the murderers of Muslims”.

Noting that the AAP’s debut in Delhi brought several novelties in the way politics was conducted, Mr. Asif said had also brought about a substantial amount of direct confrontation from its very inception.

Interestingly, during a random conversation in Okhla, several members of Muslim community disagreed with Mr. Asif’s views. While a large number of them said inflammatory words should not be used on any poster, they were also almost unanimous in saying they had no idea about the poster allegedly put up by the AAP.

A prominent fruit stall owner at Batla House Chowk said majority of the residents would not want their MLA to align with the BJP, which he termed as a party that is “hostile” to the interests of the minority community. He was firm on not being photographed and named, and spoke only when assured complete anonymity since he said speaking against the local MLA would put his safety at risk.

Arguing that Muslim politics is guided by emotive issues, he said inflammatory posters are nothing new for Okhla and made a mention of a poster put up prominently against Israel.

Just like him, none of the people The Hindu spoke to were ready to be photographed or quoted with their name while they disagreed with Mr. Asif.

There were few supporters of Mr. Asif who, however, agreed that while Muslims in the area were generally against their MLA joining the saffron party, they would still stand by him.

“I support Mr. Asif joining the BJP as it will certainly ensure development of the area,” said Zubair Khan, a tea shop owner near Khalilullah Masjid.

The AAP, however, distanced itself completely from the poster and alleged that its supporters were being framed and arrested in “false” cases because they had “foiled” the BJP’s plan to form a government in Delhi.

“Just because we foiled the BJP’s plans to form government in Delhi by buying MLAs, our volunteers and staff are being framed and arrested in false cases,” party chief Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.

Importantly, some of the residents pointed out the politics of the controversy and said in any case the AAP stands to gain. They were of the view that the arrest of the AAP leaders may further benefit the party politically, which improved its performance in the Assembly segment during the Lok Sabha polls.

“The fact that its leaders are being targeted because they spoke against the local MLA joining the saffron party to form government, will pay them well in case Delhi sees another election,” said Shaheen Bagh resident Tarique Anwar.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 4:20:50 AM |

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