Hindu traders in Vellore, who are opposing the mosque in a residential place, are being pressured to withdraw protests. and are also receiving death threats.
As part of land jihad, Muslims are keen to build mosques in Hindu dominated residential areas, which has gained momentum after DMK's victory in assembly and the recent local body polls, if the following incidents are a pointer.
Tension prevailed on Sarkar Mandi Street on Gandhi road after a group of people in the area opposed the construction of a new mosque on 2 February. They alleged that the mosque was built without proper permission and by altering a house overnight. They claimed building a mosque in the area would create friction between people from different religions in the future.
"The mosque has been there since 1866, and we have revenue records and Wakf board documents supporting that. They (Hindu Munnani) are now opposing this and trying to create religious tension in the area. We have submitted evidence to the RDO and urged the district administration to take action against them," said GS Iqbal, president of Dravida Muslim Munnetra Kalagam (DMMK).
Journalist S Rajesh Rao said, "As per documents obtained through RTI, one Abdul Rahim pays property tax for the building. Though it is a residential building, he runs a juice shop in the front. If allowed, they would object to Hindu religious marriage processions on the route. People will gather for namaz in large numbers and park their vehicles on roads haphazardly, resulting in traffic snarls."
He added, "Hindu traders directly and indirectly are threatened, pressurized to change their stand. Efforts are on to divide them on communal, caste basis. They are spreading a lot of falsehood on social media and media. During the previous AIADMK rule, they were dormant, but after DMK won both in assembly and the recent local body elections, there has been full swing activities to build a mosque here. They know that DMK would support."
Rajesh said Habib posts personal information of people who oppose the mosque construction on WhatsApp. RDO Vishnupriya, a day before her transfer to Chengalput, hastily closed the file on 25 February, allowing the prayers in the disputed place. She did not conduct any inquiry.
Rajesh recalled an old event. "In Sathuvacharry, Islamic trust bought a piece of property and started building a mosque in 2008. Thanks to Hindu Munnani's protest, which lasted till 2011, and legal battle, they were forced to abandon it. Vellaiyan and Dr Arvinda Reddy, who led the protests, were killed by Islamic fundamentalists. Manitha Neya Makkal Katchi state level functionary H.Ahmed posts messages in social media calling Muslims to gather in large numbers to show their solidarity and is spreading false messages about Mahesh and other Hindu leaders. Muslims in DMK are unanimous in the issue. Hindus in DMK cajole Hindu traders to make peace with Muslims," he said.
Rajesh fears they may target Mahesh and wants enhancement of his security besides a crackdown on Islamic fundamentalists to find out if there are any Bangladeshi, Rohingya paid killers.
"In a nearby Vellaripatti village, there is a big mosque, Madrasah, where there is no single Muslim. It is an attempt to create a cluster for terrorism. There should be some ulterior motive, conspiracy to create communal clashes and convert locals," says political commentator Venkatadri. In the same Melur, a BJP booth agent was arrested for asking a Muslim voter to lift her hijab to know her identity during the local body polls.