Uttarakhand Waqf Board chairman Shadab Shams and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA Haji Mohammed Shahzad met Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Monday and urged him to take steps to dispel the fear among Muslims in the wake of the recent attack by right-wing groups in Uttarkashi.
Shops owned by Muslims were damaged and hoardings razed in the first week of June, following communal violence.
Trouble began last month after a minor girl was allegedly abducted by two youths – a Hindu and a Muslim – in Uttarkashi. The two accused were caught by locals. Later and FIR was lodged against them. After this incident, various right-wing organisations, including the Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bhairav Sena, started protests against the minority community.
‘Devbhoomi Raksha Abhiyan’, a right-wing group that is holding a mahapanchayat on June 15, has allegedly pasted posters across the city asking Muslims to leave the town. Several Muslim families were hence forced to leave the town fearing for their security.
Mr. Shams, who is also a leader of the ruling BJP, maintained that what is happening in Uttarkashi and some other places is a cause for concern for the minority community. Stating that some anti-social elements were trying to incite communal tension in the mountains and threaten Muslims, he sought strict action against such people.
“We have requested the Chief Minister to immediately intervene in the matter and ensure that Muslims feel safe in Uttarakhand. The CM said he will ensure no innocent is hurt or harassed,” he said.
Last week, Mr. Dhami said that to check the rising cases of “love jihad” (an expression coined by right-wing groups for interfaith relationships), the government would launch a verification drive across the State to check the people who have recently moved to the State and their backgrounds.
The CM’s statement came a day after BJP’s minority morcha chief of Uttarkashi, Mohammed Zahid, was forced to leave his house after protests by right-wing groups. Speaking to The Hindu, he said that when he objected to protests by right-wing groups, he was threatened that his garment shop would be burnt.
Even as the right-wing group is gearing up for its mahapanchayat, the office-bearers of the Muslim Seva Santhan (MSS) has called a mahapanchayat in the State capital, Dehradun, on June 18. The aim of the mahapanchayat is to draw the State government’s attention to the administration’s failure in Uttarkashi and the “exodus” of Muslims from the hill town, the MSS said.