A silly land dispute
Congress fails to keep harmony
10 killed in police firing
By Lokpal Sethi in Jaipur
A part from most of the other communities, Muslims in Rajasthan are most furious against Ashok Gehlot led Congress government in the State. They feel pity that they had supported the Congress party in the last Assembly elections. During the past two and half years of the government, they were conveying their unhappiness with the government quietly, but after the recent police firing in Gopalgarh, Bharatpur, they have come out openly against the government.
Though to appease its Muslim vote bank, which constitute nearly nine per cent of the total electorates, government has handed over the case to CBI and also appointed a judicial commission to investigate the matter. Leader of the Muslim community are not willing to accept the version of the government that it was a communal violence and firmly says it was brutality of the police, which fired nearly300 bullets, killing nine Meo Muslims and injuring another 20.
According to Salim Engineer, national secretary Jammat-e- Islami Hind, “Had it been a communal violence, people from both side would been killed or injured . As police targeted only Muslims, who were trapped in a masjid, so killed or injured were only from this community.”
Zahida Khan, a Congress MLA from Kamman, under which Gopalgarh falls, said she was present in the village when police open fired on the helpless Muslims, who had gone to the masjid in the evening of September 14 to offer namaz. She has refused to agree to the number of deaths, officially put by the government. “Even after a week, at least ten members of the community are still missing and I am sure they were killed by police and their bodies were disposed off clandestinely,” she said.
Both, Engineer and Khan maintain that had administration shown urgency to solve the land dispute between two communities, such incident could have been avoided.
Though both of them claimed that land adjoining to Masjid cum Kabargarh, belongs to this religious place, government revenue record shows that it was part of the village pond and was wrongly shown as part of the masjid about two years back.
A day before the firing incident, local Muslims, under the leadership of the maulavi, started some construction activities around the masjid. This was objected by the leaders of Gujjar community, citing the case pending in the local court. There were some altercation between two communities in which the maulavi received minor injuries.Soon after the incident rumours spread that maulavi had succumbed to his injuries.
As per the intelligence report, next morning about one thousand members of Meo community from Haryana reached Gopalgarh. In the morning, when collector Krishan Kunal was talking to the local leaders of both the communities to sought out the dispute, Meo Muslims attacked the Gujjar dominated parts of Gopalgarh. When they faced some resistance and retaliation , they all moved inside the masjid. From inside the masjid, they fired on Gujjar groups, which had reached there.
According to some eye witness accounts, they also fired on police, which had reached on the site. Police which were furious over the attack from inside the masjid opened fire in which nine Meo Muslims were killed and another 20 got injured.
Initially government denied the open firing on Muslims and maintained that police fired in the air to disperse the crowd. It also said, no one was killed by police bullet and most of the killings were due to cross firing between two communities.
Muslim leaders were so furious with this incident that on September 15 they organised a march in the State capital. Fearing political backlash, shaky Gehlot immediately announced a CBI inquiry and also setting up of a judicial commission to probe the administrative failure. District Collector Krishan Kunal and SP Higlaz Dan were transferred with immediate effect to concede the demands of the community.
According to insiders government made Collector and SP as scapegoats.
Undercurrent among Muslims against the Congress government was being surfaced time and again during the past two and half years. But it remained under wrap as Muslim leaders were sure, government would definitely fulfill its elections promises which it had made during Assembly as well as well Lok Sabha elections.
Leaders of the community were hoping that government would appoint heads of about half a dozen bodies, which were set up to look into the concerns of the community and its welfare. But except making Liyakat Ali, a retired IPS officer, as Chairman of Waqaf Board, no steps were initiated to fill the posts of the heads of other bodies, including Madrasa Board, Minorities Commission, Haj Committee and Minorities Financial Commission.
During BJP government, a piece of land was allotted to the Haj Committee near airport. BJP government also allocated funds to construct the building . But even after nearly three years, Congress government has not released the funds.
Congress party had also promised that it would sought the problem of recognition of the degrees of Jamia Urdu , Aligarh. But instead of helping the community on this count Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education in May last de -recognised all the four degrees.
Anger of the Muslim community was first surfaced openly during the month of Ramzan. To express their feelings against the government, most of leaders of the community, on the call of Muslim Forum, boycotted the Iftar party, given by the Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot at his official residence.