The name of Ram Nagar has been known for its literal meaning of being the city of Bhagwan Ram, and there is also Sitabani shrine at a short distance from it; it is said that when MaaSita went to the forest with Maha Rishi Valmiki after being abandoned by Lord Rama. She was living in this forest. Ramnagar was once the capital of the DhikuliKatyuri dynasty.
In recent times, the news has been flooded with reports about an uprising issue that the Forests in the area are continuously being encroached on by the Muslim community. A noteworthy fact at this point is that the land they are encroaching on them belongs to the Government. Hence the land is in the nature of public land. In lieu of this, it becomes undeniable that it is in the public interest to prevent such encroachments and regain what has been lost.
The introduction of the culture of the encroachers has the ability to cast an influence over the cultural heritage of the state, and it has the ability to colour the social fabric by vesting a significant influence on the initial demography of the state, such an influence can temper with the feeling oneness and belongingness to the state amongst the people of Kumaon and Garhwal
The fact that Jihaad is not a new term is well introduced to us, and the term jihad has been commonly understood as a holy war that has been initiated by the Muslims for the purpose of Jihaad as a part of their religious obligations.
Along with the evolution of society, the term Jihad has also attracted several connotations; for instance, the term ‘love jihad’ was first coined by HJS by alleging its existence in Kerala and Karnataka. With time terms like Economic Jihad and Market Jihad have also been in discussion in the state of Uttarakhand.
The discussion today seeks to determine the meaning and extent of the term Land Jihad and the significant threats that accompany it. Hereinafter determining the risks that follow, the discussion seeks to be fruitful in the sense that it aims to formulate measures to curb the menace along with attracting the attention of the Government towards the issue.
Land Jihad vis-à-vis its risks
The term land jihad can be understood as an attempt by a particular community to establish control, assertiveness, dominance and dominion over land to which they are not legally entitled to such an attempt being made with an objectiveness to cast an influence over the demography and dominance exercised over a particular region.
The discussion today attempts to analyze the construction of Mazars of pirbabas over the public land in the hilly state of Uttarakhand. Such encroachments can increase the dominance of the encroaching community in the region where the encroachment is being conducted and also derive the public from deriving benefits from the public land. In lieu of this fact, it becomes necessary for us to cast our attention on the issue.
It is submitted that when such a community is allowed to assert its dominion over the public resources in a state like Uttarakhand, the state’s rich tradition and cultural heritage become translucent. The introduction of the culture of the encroachers has the ability to cast an influence over the cultural heritage of the state, and it has the ability to colour the social fabric by vesting a significant influence on the initial demography of the state, such an influence can temper with the feeling oneness and belongingness to the state amongst the people of Kumaon and Garhwal. The indigenous people would not feel at home if their cultural heritage and social fabric were adulterated; it can give rise to a feeling of resentment amongst them toward their own state.
The only possible and suggested measure that the state can adopt is razing these illegal encroachments upon the government land to establish a precedent. It is also noteworthy that the Dhami government has been proactive in adopting this measure
The issue of land jihad not only poses a threat to the cultural and traditional heritage of the indigenous people but also poses significant national security. When a community is allowed to enter the state, and the state is unable to keep a check on their origin, it leads to a situation where the possibility of refugees such as Rohingyas entering the state by blending amongst the people of the same religious community. Such outsiders may expose the state to the risk of increased terrorism and conduct of illegal activities like drug trade on the state’s soil. It exposes the potential threat to not only law and order in the state but also to national security by harbouring a habitat to facilitate cross-border terrorism. National Security is a sacrosanct duty to be observed by the state, and thus, by way of this discussion, an attempt is to be made to draw the attention of the state towards this issue, for it is the state might which can stand against this issue.
It is also submitted that the basis of the creation of states in the Union of India was lingual, by allowing the introduction of alien communities in the state and the altered demography that follows tenses the very purpose for which the states were created.
The existence of issue distinguishing it from regular migration lies in the fact that there exist several Mazars of the same Pir Baba at different places; a person cannot be buried in more than one place. This fact makes us suspicious of an underlying conspiracy with a hidden motive.
Hence, it is for this reason that we shall highlight the significance of this ongoing crisis and appeal to the state to develop effective solutions to solve the issue.
How does Mazaar Jihad start?
According to the information received from the police and forest department, illegal tombs are not built in a day, for this Reiki is done; first, such a deserted place is seen in the forest, which is not visible from the main road, first clothes are tied on the roads visible from the road, then the way is made by placing stones on the way and applying lime. Where the tomb is to be built, an earthen mound is made, and stones etc., are placed on it, sheets are put on it, incense sticks, lamps are lit, when no one opposes it, then a hut is first put up, one or two people come and start living. Yes, people of the Barelvi community come to Uttarakhand to build illegal shrines; when the hut is not removed, slowly, a platform for the shrine is made, and then the hut turns into a concrete building. These occupants very cleverly keep pouring lime water on the roots of nearby green trees so that the tree dries up.
In the forests of RamnagarKaladhungi Corbett of Nainital district, so many tombs have been built that one would be surprised to see how so many Pir Baba come and get buried here. Is there any fakir or pir inside these tombs or not? Was there no conspiracy to make the city named after Ram a city of shrines?
Is it Mazaar Jihad?
This also proves to be true because the eyes of the Forest Department and the Police Department were opened when the Dhami Government got a survey of illegal tombs done in the forests after the news published in “Panchjanya”. It is also being investigated during which officer’s tenure these mausoleums were built, and it is noteworthy that many IFS and officers had to face punishment for the construction of the illegal building in Corbett Tiger Reserve and now when the mention of about 1300 illegal mausoleums has come to the fore. So won’t the Uttarakhand government set up a departmental inquiry on this? Trusted sources say that the role of Devak IFS is being said to be suspicious in protecting these tombs. The case of tomb jihad in the forests of Ramnagar, Kaladhungi Corbett is in headlines; now it has to be seen what other steps the Forest Department takes in this regard.
Suggested public policy measures vis-à-vis action taken by the Government
The only possible and suggested measure that the state can adopt is razing these illegal encroachments upon the government land to establish a precedent. It is also noteworthy that the Dhami government has been proactive in adopting this measure. It is reported that the Dhami government has already caused the demolition of 15 such illegal mazaars in Dehradun. Such a swift response by the Government assures us that the Government is determined to regain the land lost due to the negligence of the Forest Officers.
It is expected that the Dhami government will soon re-occupy all the land to which it is entitled. With this premise in hand, the inference that is granted is that when we have a determined government running the state like that of Dhami’s, the adoption of illegal measures in order to occupy government land becomes a distant dream for those communities which conduct encroachment to pave the way for its predetermined motives. The discussion that has been conducted today also calls for the appreciation of the commendably swift action taken by team Dhami. However, it is also suggested that intelligence agencies should be activated to determine the actual underlying purpose behind the Mazar Jihad and the real faces behind the activity.