BJP’s Minority Morcha chief in Aligarh, Rashid Pehalwan, on Monday blamed party MP Satish Gautam and Mayor Shakuntala Bharti for “creating a rift between Hindus and Muslims” in the city.
He said they were “communalising an eve-teasing incident in which the accused was arrested a long ago.”
Mr. Rashid said Ms. Bharti and Mr. Gautam were “blowing up a simple incident of a motorcycle bumping into a girl, who happened to be Hindu, into one of molestation by Muslim youths.”Many feel ‘unsafe’
Tension has been brewing for some time in the Babri Mandi area of Aligarh where both Muslim and Hindu families have said they felt “unsafe.” Members of both sides have declared their intention to leave the area.
Last week, members of the two communities clashed following the alleged eve-teasing incident. Ms. Bharti and Mr. Gautam termed it an instance of “Muslim atrocity on Hindus” and alleged that Hindus were unsafe in Aligarh.
Ms. Bharti took four Hindu residents of the area to the Aligarh Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Avdhesh Tiwari.
The residents told him that they wanted to sell their houses. Among them was Vinay Varshney, a local BJP youth morcha leader.
Mr. Gautam refused to comment on Mr. Rashid’s allegations. He, however, told the media that he would raise the “Hindu exodus” from Aligarh in Parliament.Conspiracy theory
Ms. Bharti rubbished Mr. Rashid’s claims and alleged that it was “an organised conspiracy against the Hindus in the area.”
The ADM, Mr. Tiwari, said the situation was “under control” and rejected the claims of a Hindu exodus. “Only eight people had approached us declaring that they wished to sell their property because they felt unsafe. This was intended to garner publicity in a situation which had more to do with law and order. We will ensure that no family, Hindu or Muslim, leaves the place,” he said.
Mr. Tiwari said attempts were being made to bring about a reconciliation between the two communities through peace meetings.