Syed Ali Mujtaba
The temple opening ceremony in Ayodhya on January 22 is seen by some Muslims with fear and disdain. There are plenty of messages doing rounds on social media cautioning the Muslim community to avoid travelling during January 20-25, as a large scale of violence against them could be in the offing.
An anonymous Whats App message has come to me as well that says; “Friends, Lok Sabha elections will be held in March, and as part of the election campaign, the BJP is organizing a grand inauguration of Ram Temple in Ayodhya. The BJP has instructed its cadres to book tickets in trains and busses to bring people from different parts of the country to Ayodhya. The entire expenditure of free travel, boarding and lodging is borne by the Sangh Parivar. Since the gathering is going to be substantial there can be another ruckus on lines of December 6, 1992. The fear of mob violence against Muslims in UP cannot be ruled out, says the message that appeals to the Muslim community to avoid travelling in trains and buses with their women and children (especially young girls) from 20-25 January in UP.
The message also says; “Urs of Kwaja Moinuddin Chisti in Ajmer is starting from January 18 and a large number of Muslims will be travelling to Ajmer for such pilgrimage. They may come in contact with the Hindu devotees going to Ayodhya. The fear is that Hindu devotees may raise anti-Muslim slogans to instigate the Muslims to retaliate and this may result in communal violence.
The RSS national executive member, Indresh Kumar has urged Muslims to recite “Shri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram” 11 times at mosques, dargahs, maktabs and madrassas during the Ram temple consecration ceremony.
This has further incensed the Muslims and they fear that the Muslim religious place may be put under surveillance by the Yogi administration. There could be a planned attack on the Muslims for not following the unofficial diktat of the RSS.
The message further cautions that the BJP may be trying something like the Mumbai riots that took place in the aftermath of the demolition of Babri masjid on December 6, 1992. It also cautions another Muslim persecution can happen along the lines of the Gujarat riots of 2002. As a result in the backdrop of temple inauguration, the Muslim community should remain alert for any such eventuality.
The message further says; that there are numerous examples to suggest that communal riots are engineered by the BJP to win elections. It is a tried and tested formula of the BJP and the vote share of the saffron party has always gone up whenever communal riots have taken place.
The message ends with words of caution appealing to the Muslim community to stay alert ahead of the temple consecration ceremony. ‘As ‘tempest days’ loom large over the Muslims and there could be mob violence being planned, the UP Muslims should avoid travelling from January 20-25. The messages also appeal to the government and administration to be on high alert to contain any such law and order disturbances during those days.
Echoing similar sentiments, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) Chief, Badruddin Ajmal has asked the Muslims in Assam to avoid travelling by train from January 20 to January 25. He has cautioned that ahead of the consecration ceremony of Ram Mandir, there could be “any untoward incident” therefore Muslims must avoid travelling during those days.
“We will have to be cautious. Muslims should not travel by train from January 20 to January 25. Lakhs of people will come to Ayodhya during this period and we should not travel by train and stay at home,” Ajmal said while addressing a gathering in Assam’s Barpeta.
Reacting to AIUDF leader’s comments, Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities Iqbal Singh Lalpura said, ‘We can testify that no one needs to be scared. This is our country and everyone, who may be from any religion, is safe here. There is no reason that we should be scared or for this reason not travel,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the grand Shri Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on January 22. It is expected that over one lakh people will come to attend the consecration ceremony. The event will set the tone of the electioneering process for the March 2024 general election in India.