Over the past few weeks a drama has been unfolding in the old Delhi area, where an underground metro station is being constructed. During the digging, a part of an old wall was discovered. Even before the Archaeological Survey of India could test and verify the area, the Muslims, led by MLA Shoaib Iqbal took over the place, declaring it to be the Akbarabadi Masjid, demolished by the British following the 1857 uprising. He even led the last Friday prayers there. Now, a new mosque is under construction there. All this with absolutely no confirmation from the ASI on the veracity of the claim.
In Jungpura, South Delhi, an unauthorised mosque located in a land owned by DDA was brought down a few months ago. What followed that was mayhem, with Samajwadi Party, the proclaimed protector of Muslim interest descending on the crying minority oppression. Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit immediately announced that an alternate site in the vicinity would be offered to douse the anger.
Again in South Delhi, pitched fights broke out between the residents and the managers of a mosque when the latter sought to extend the mosque into the public park, used by the residents. It was after much struggle that the police brought the situation under control.
In Bombay, for many years, the Muslims were offering namaz, especially on Fridays in the main thoroughfares, blocking the entire roads, and bringing traffic to standstill for a couple of hours. The governments never dared to interfere. The practice stopped only when the Shiv Sena took to conducting aarti on the main roads in the evenings. The administration was forced to act and stop both sides.
For years now, the government has been spending lakhs of tax payers’ money on the upkeep and maintenance of Jama Masjid as a protected monument. But the government does not get any contribution from the Masjid, which receives crores in offerings. And yet, the government has not been ever able to remove encroachments from near the mosque, visited by tourists, except for one earnest attempt by Sanjay Gandhi and Jagmohan.
Almost all the ASI-protected monuments with any Islamic connection are taken over by Muslims for prayers, despite clear government orders not to do so. If it is a government protected structure, it becomes secular and cannot be used for any partisan community-related activity. But this order is hardly ever respected with the authorities being mute spectators. In fact there have been several court orders regarding this.
Last week, a Delhi local court asked the Delhi Police why it has not executed the arrest warrant issued on the Imam of the Jama Masjid. The police has been continually pleading that the arrest would lead to law and order problem. This statement betrays the government position that Imams are above law.
Contrast all these with the scene from the other side. Respected Hindu holy men and women are picked up, arrested and kept in jail, without any qualm. The revered Shankaracharya of Kanchi Mutt was jailed on a flimsy murder charge that had no proof. Sadhvi Pragya Thakur has been incarcerated for nearly four years now, without chargesheet being filed. She is held under the terrorists act and has been complaining that she is being mentally tortured with immodest pictures and images. She was not allowed higher class train travel, despite offering to pay for it. She was forced to travel third class like a criminal. She has now reportedly been diagnosed with breast cancer. A Hindu saint was de-boarded from a plane since he refused to surrender his dandam, the religious stick. Swami Aseemanand has been in jail and tortured into making confessions, which he denied in the court.
Several Hindu temples have been taken over by the government, with politicians controlling the income and wealth of these places of worship. Nearly seventy pilgrims have died on the Amarnath yatra this year. Devotees taking this arduous journey complain that there is hardly any medical aid on the way. Imagine the scene if even a couple of people died in India on Haj pilgrimage. There would have been heads rolling. Sabarimala in Kerala fetches revenues for the government in crores, and yet, without basic amenities and facilities, tragedies happen regularly there.
Ram Lalla has been living in ‘temporary home’ under the shadow of guns for over two decades now, with no sight of the promised grandiose temple.
The point is, Hindus should learn a few lessons from our Muslim brothers on how to safeguard our interests. Stand together, speak in one voice and take the government to task if it is not listening to us. There is an ancient saying that mother pays attention to the child that is the loudest. Let us increase our pitch and reclaim our rights.