This is a guest post by NAUJAWAN BHARAT SABHA on the communal mobilisation in working class colonies in North West Delhi.
In recent months Hindutva fundamentalist forces have been involved in fomenting communal tensions and paving the way for riots in the workers’ colonies of North-West Delhi in a very systematic manner. There has been a surge in the number of RSS shakhas in the parks and on the vacant land of DDA in this area. At the same time the activities of Bajrang Dal are also on the rise in this area. Most of the workers’ residences in the areas of Holambi Kalan, Holambi Khurd, Bhawana, Narela, Bhalaswa Dairy etc. are part of resettlement colonies where the working population which was uprooted from different parts of Delhi have been resettled.
Several illegal activities such as gambling and sale of illegal liquor, smack and other intoxicants are carried out on large scale in these colonies as a matter of routine. Apart from the ordinary working population there also exist lumpen elements in substantial numbers. In the shakhas of RSS mainly shopkeepers, contractors, house owners, property dealers and the middle class youth are seen while the lumpen elements play an important role in hooliganism during communal tensionS. It is in the mobilization of such lumpen elements that the Bajrang Dal comes into picture. These days widespread public contact campaign is being organized even in the middle class colonies of the entire area on the pretext of running a signature campaign under the banner of “Go Raksha Maha Abhiyan”.
2. Background: incidents of the recent past
Ever since the Narendra Modi government has come to power, the incidents of communal tension and conflict have been taking place on a continual basis. In most of the cases these incidents are the outcome of the planning and provocation by the fraternal organizations of the Sangh Parivar in which the local BJP leaders and people’s representatives have played an active role.
Even if one leaves aside stray incidents, one cannot ignore the pattern behind some important incidents.
On the last 1 August 2014 a local dispute was given the form of communal clashes in Nand Nagri in North-West Delhi (in which 12 people were injured), between 2 October and 6 October. The tactics for fomenting communal tension included spreading false rumours of cattle theft and cow slaughter by the ‘Hindu Krantikari Sena’, an outfit associated with RSS; forcible search of muslim houses; beating up a scrap trader; organising a motor cycle rally on 11 October inflicting serious damage to the property of a shrine and in the process injuring dozens of kids by stone pelting in Zorbag Karbala of South Delhi; giving a communal colour to a local dispute in Trilokpuri on 22-23 October; stone pelting and violent clashes after provocation of communal feelings by local BJP MLA Sunil Vaidya, etc. Between 25 October-4 November a Tazia procession during Moharram was stopped by people belonging to Sangh Parivar in J.J. Colony Bawana; and people in the border villages of Haryana-Delhi were mobilised by ABVP activists in the name of ‘Mahapanchayat’. Local BJP MLA from Bawana Gugan Singh Ranga and many others delivered provocative speeches in this Mahapanchayat (which was held without police permission, but strangely there was no action against anybody).
On 5 November another attempt to foment communal tension began by the throwing of a dead pig in front of a mosque in Okhla’s Madanpur Khadar. On 9 November further communal mobilization occurred after an unknown person found a corpse of a cow in front of a restaurant in Babarpur. On 11 November a Panchayat was called by ‘Yuwa Hindu Sangh’ in Ghonda which is adjacent to Babarpur. On 25 November in a clear violation of the Supreme Court directive and the ‘National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act 2011’ Delhi administration bulldozed 900 houses of the muslim settlements of Israeli Camp in Rangpuri Pahari of Vasant Kunj – in the process making thousands of people homeless including 2000 children. On 1 December Sebastian Church was vandalized and set on fire; on 6 December stone pelting occurred at Syro Malabar Church in Okhla; On 8 December Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti delivered the notorious “Ramzada-Haramzada” speech in Trilokpuri.
Just a simple listing of the above events by itself should be sufficient to suggest that there are systematic, highly conscious and well thought-out efforts on at fomenting communal tension and riots from 2014 itself. What we witness is a common trend in all the incidents which are noteworthy. In almost all the above incidents the ordinary local population showed concrete solidarity in foiling the conspiracies of the communal forces; thereby consciously preventing the situation from turning explosive. Secondly, in almost all the cases the police played the role of mute spectator, no action was taken against the culprit after investigation and even when it tried to control the situation through mediation it was owing to the pressure from the local community and their institutions such as the peace committee. Thirdly, some incidents of provocation were carried out by “unknown” persons but in most of the cases the organizations belonging to Sangh Parivar and the local BJP leaders played a significant role.
In 2001, the workers uprooted from many areas in Delhi were resettled in Metro Vihar, Holambi Khurd. The muslim families here had made a demand for land from the administration for a mosque and a graveyard at that time itself (the nearest graveyard is located at a distance of 8 km from here). In September 2001 they erected a temporary mosque on a vacant land after informing the administration. In 2002 on the provocation of the RSS activists some people constructed a temple on the land in front of the mosque. To escape from a potential dispute the muslim families repeatedly demanded from the administration that the land be allotted for temple and crematorium apart from mosque and graveyard, but despite writing letters to sixteen departments in the last fourteen years and despite making innumerable rounds to the office the administration did not take any step.
On last 10 September (2014) some anti-social elements began to level the land of the temporary mosque and temple. When some concerned people called the police they assured the police that they did not intend to grab the land. After that the land began to be used as a spot for gambling and intoxication and the people coming in and out of mosque began to be harassed. Subsequently on 27 December the vacant land was surrounded with bamboo-sticks by the same elements. When informed the PCR van and local police arrived but returned after verbally stopping them but the enclosure remained intact. Even today the enclosure and the assembling of the anti-social elements continues unabated. Since it is in front of the mosque and temple and owing to the continuous activities of the Sangh parivar activists the situation is maintained in such a manner that it can be turned into a communal clash at any time.
We now turn to continuous activities of the Hindutva forces currently of fomenting communal tension in Holambi Kalan, Narela and Bhalaswa Dairy and their dangerous conspiratorial plans, the confirmed information of which has been obtained by the investigation team of Naujawan Bharat Sabha.
3. The activities of fanning communal fire in Holambi Kalan and the dangerous preparations for future.
The task of habilitating the multi-phase Metro Vihar colony in Holambi began in 2000-2001. In 2006 the Delhi government demolished the slum from Jakhira and resettled the uprooted population in Metro Vihar, Phase-2, block-B. In 2007 some families uprooted from Indralok were also resettled here. In all Holambi Kalan is divided in two phases and six blocks where there are 600 muslim families and the muslims constitute ten percent in the total population of 10,000.
Right from the time of habilitating Holambi Kalan (Metro Vihar) people have been demanding for temple-mosque and crematorium-graveyard. People continued to build temples one after another on the vacant DDA lands. The muslim community too demanded land several times from administration for mosque. A local DDA Junior Engineer told them orally that until the permanent allotment of land for mosque they could construct temporary mosque on any vacant land and in 2006-7 a temporary structure of Bilal mosque was erected by Bilal Welfare society.
After inspection by the slum officials and assuring the allotment of land for mosque in 2010 the muslim families applied for allotment twice, in 2010 and 2012, but no action was taken and the Bilal mosque continued to operate on temporary basis. The land on which the Bilal mosque is situated was earlier proposed for constructing a primary school, but due to a high tension wire overhead it was cancelled. It is to be noted that apart from Namaz 65 children are provided education in Hindi, Urdu and other subjects in the Bilal mosque.
It is to be noted that it’s not just the Bilal mosque which faces such a troublesome situation. There are 28 temples and 4 mosques in all in Holambi Kalan phase -2 which are constructed on the vacant land of DDA. Similarly construction work is ongoing on three more temples as of now. Between 2007 and 2014 there has been no dispute between the Hindu-muslim population regarding Bilal mosque or any other mosque. The acts of provocation began for the first time by Sangh Parivar members after the coming to power of Modi government on 26 May, 2014.
On 3 June 2014, after the thatch of the Bilal mosque blew away in a storm and the tarpaulin was torn, the mosque was being repaired by collecting donation from the colony. Some Sangh parivar activists entered the mosque along with a crowd of hundred-odd. They stopped the repairing work, removed the tarpaulin and started creating a ruckus. They called police by saying that an illegal new construction was taking place there even though it was only the repairing of the harm done due to storm which was taking place. After arriving the police halted the repairing work and took away an office bearer of the mosque committee Mohd. Nisar to police chowki and registered a complained against him. After this the Namaz began to take place under open sky by erecting tarpaulin, but the Sangh Parivar activists continued to carry out propaganda among the Hindu population regarding the mosque.
The incident of 14-15 August and its aftermath.
On 15th August this year the members of Bilal Welfare Society had made preparations for a programme of hoisting the national flag on the vacant land in front of the mosque and on 14thAugust a tent and 100 chairs were placed. But on the night of 14th August the local SHO reached there and got the chairs and tent removed and confiscated the mobile phone of the Imam of the mosque. He claimed that there was no permission to hold such an event. The local muslim population was of the belief that in the many colonies of city the citizens organize 15 Augustprogrammes in public parks and they do not need any permission for the same, but the police paid no heed to them.
On the morning of 15 August the people belonging to RSS and Bajrang Dal reached the mosque along with a crowd of 400-500 (most of the people in the crowd were outsiders) and started raising extremist religious slogans and tried to hoist the flag. On this occasion the police did not put forward the logic of not having permission and did not make any attempt to stop them. Then it was decided that 5 people each from both the communities would hoist the flag. But after the hoisting of flag the crowd raised extremist religious slogan and poured Ganga Jal around the mosque. The police silently watched all this.
We obtained information from the residents of the colony that on 14th August the RSS and Bajrang Dal people had carried out a widespread propaganda that the muslims were planning to hoist Pakistan’s flag on Bilal mosque. On the evening of 15 August the police seized the flag and the stick and put them on police station. But on the same day the RSS activists carried out a widespread propaganda with a burnt flag and spread the rumour that the flag was burnt by muslims. Whereas the police later clarified that the hoisted flag is in its safe custody.
On 16th August once again a crowd led by RSS activists gathered in front of mosque and tried to hoist the flag. This time the police stopped them. Then the crowd retreated with the threat that they would come back once the police returns.
The atmosphere for the 15 August incident was being built up by Sangh Parivar much in advance. On the fateful day the RSS activists of nearby areas of Shahabad Dairy, Bawana, Narela etc. were alerted in advance for gathering the crowd. While responding to the accusation by the muslim community that all this was done by the Sangh Parivar in a planned manner the state propaganda chief Rajesh Tuly told media, “All these accusations are baseless. The local muslim population is planning to grab the land in front of the mosque. The mosque is unauthorized. Actually these people disrespect out national flag”. DCP Outer Delhi Vikramjeet Singh’s tone matches with that of the state propaganda chief of RSS. He too said that the mosque was constructed by grabbing the land illegally. Rejecting the details of the incident of 15 August which took place in front of around one thousand people, the DCP says that both the communities wanted to organize the 15 August programme separately and one community was opposing the other and then the police intervened to prevent the communal clash and asked to hold the event jointly. The approach of police administration is clearly biased and it has continuously ignored all the provocative acts of Sangh Parivar.
The modus-operandi of RSS propaganda and its future preparations.
Naujawan Bharat Sabha has managed to obtain some shocking information regarding the preparations, modus-operandi and planning of the Sangh Parivar in this region.
Apart from the traditional means of propaganda such as door-to-door and mouth-to-mouth propaganda and training during the Shakhas, the leading local activists of RSS remain in constant touch with an inner circle of credible people through a WhatsApp group with which they spread information instantly and exchange ideas regarding their plans. The name of this WhatsApp group is “RSS Haripur nagar” and it is run by a leading local RSS activist Indresh (Kailash, Dr. Pramod, Dr. Ravi, Rashtrapal Jhakra etc are other leading members). This WhatsApp group is active much before the incident of 15 August and the investigation team of Naujawan Bharat Sabha has managed to obtain the entire detail of their conversation in this group of a few days in August (15 August to 29 August) from the internal sources. (https://www.scribd.com/doc/282210937/Screen-Shots-of-WhatsApp-chat-exposing-RSS-plan-of-fomenting-communal-tension-in-North-West-Delhi)
It is from those internal sources that we have come to know that now the responsibility of the Holambi Kalan case has been handed over to Bajrang Dal. The Bajrang Dal had conducted secret meetings in the A Block of Metro Vihar, phase-2 on 7 September and 13 September and charted out the future plan. The plan is to carry out some big action on or around 25 September “to teach them a lesson”. Around 100-150 outsiders are supposed to come from Alipur, Shahabad Dairy, Sannoth and Bawana to carry out this action. We also came to know that the internal secret preparations of Bajrang Dal and RSS are going on in full swing in the nearby areas. In the 7 September meeting a plan to distribute swords was put forward and it was decided that in the 20 September meeting money will be collected for the swords (the core team members would be given the sword free of cost), the concrete plan for 25 September action will be made and on 22 September swords will be distributed.
By the time we completed this report on 20 September at 10 pm we have received the confirmation that the secret meeting of Bajrang Dal had taken place but we have not yet received information about the decisions taken during the meeting. Probably we will get this information by tomorrow evening. We will present it as an annexure to this report once we manage to get it.
There is yet another mosque in the Metro Vihar in a Marathi dominant area. From the internal sources of Bajrang Dal we managed to get the information about the increase in their activities in this area as well but we are yet to receive the concrete information regarding the form.
4. The preparations are on to target Narela as well.
Narela happens to be an old area of North-West Delhi where apart from old villages, new middle class localities and old workers settlements new resettlement colonies are also there. The investigation of the Naujawan Bharat Sabha took place most intensively in Holambi Kalan, but during the investigation we came to know about the activities of communal elements in Narela as well.
On 12 September a mutilated dead body of a boy was recovered on the railway line near Narela regarding which it was rumoured that it was in fact a murder carried out by muslims. From the internal sources of Bajrang Dal we also received information regarding a similar propaganda being carried out in the workers colonies in Narela as well. The manner in which the Sangh Parivar uses the power of totems-superstitions is revealed from the fact that the family of deceased boy has been asked to sweep the floor in front of a muslim house.
Yet another information which we managed to obtain is that a membership campaign is being run by Bajrang Dal in Narela phase-2 by propagating the Bilal Mosque incident in Holambi Kalan by giving its own interpretation. Most of the muslim population resides in pocket-8 of Narela. It is in this very area that some issue such as mosque is being planned to be raised. Towards this purpose support base is being prepared and the atmosphere is being built up in the areas resided by the workers who mainly come from Hindi speaking areas.
The plan of carrying out some “big action” around 25 September (Bakrid) in Holambi Kalan mainly by outsiders which the Bajrang Dal is acting on includes the plan to take some boys from Narela as well. This shows that their internal acivities are going on in Narela.
Planned activities with the aim to instigate riot in the J.J. Colony of Bhalaswa Dairy.
The J.J. Colony of Bhalaswa Dairy was rehabilitated in 1999-2000 in which the uprooted population from Jahangirpuri, Rohini and Nizamuddin was resettled. Among the population coming from Jahangirpuri the muslim families were more in number. In the block B-6 and B-7 of the colony muslim families are more in number and next to it on the other side of the twenty feet road is the dominance of Hindu population. In other blocks there is a mixed population.
The RSS shakhas began there two-three years ago. In D-block there is a temple in front of which there exists a mosque which falls under B-7 block. Some months ago a few outside boys began their movement in and out of temple. Subsequently about two months back the priest of the temple suddenly disappeared. It is to be noted that he did not have any troublesome relation with the local population, rather he had a cordial relationship. After the disappearance of the priest the Aarti began to be conducted by some youth who belonged to RSS. The RSS activists systematically carried out the propaganda that the priest was kidnapped by muslims. This area which is dominated by muslim population is known as Bengali tola. The Sangh activists have systematically propagated that people staying here are illegal Bangladeshi immigrants who are staying here with the help of forged identity card.
In the temple of D-1 block every Tuesday Hanuman chalisa was chanted and special Aarti and Jaikara used to take place, but never before was there any clash with the timing of the Azan of the mosque and nor was there any complaint earlier by the Namazis with regard to the volume of its speaker. Ever since the temple’s operations came into the hands of committee consisting ofRSS members clashes began with regard to timing and the volume of the audio. There are some small shops of muslims nearby temple. They say that in the loud volume of Hanuman Chalisa, aarti and Jaikara the volume of Azan gets subdued. After an agreement between both the committee it was decided that the Azan will take place at 8 pm while Aarti will begin at 8:15 pm, but this agreement was not followed by the temple.
Every Tuesday 50 youth used to come from outside in order to join the Aarti and the chanting of Hanuman Chalisa against whom several cases have been registered in the adjoining police stations as per police. The local residents also told that the brother of the RSS person who conducts the Aarti in the temple was arrested by police on 4 September on the charge of attacking a muslim boy with a knife and he is yet to be granted bail.
The incident of 8 September
On 8 September (Tuesday) when the volumes of Azan and Hanuman chalisa chanting-Arti began to be clashed, suddenly stone pelting started. Some people said that first the stone was pelted on temple from the mosque side, but it is yet not clear whether the stones came from outside or somebody threw them from inside the temple premises. Stones were being pelted from both the sides for 10-15 minutes. The situation came under control only after the arrival of police. Some muslim family told that it was during the same time that some people came on 5-6 bikes who returned after muslim youth started gathering.
Some people told that the police have seized some bikes which contained knife and country made gun etc. When we tried to confirm this claim the police refused to reveal anything. On calling the police station we were asked to talk to the SHO, the SHO asked us to talk to DCP and the DCP office did not reveal anything on this. Whomsoever we spoke to they all said that the police knows the identity of those who came from outside very well and yet it has registered FIR against unknown people.
Widespread contact with the local population revealed that not only the muslim population but even the majority of Hindu population which has been staying in communal harmony for years is disturbed with the incident of fanning communal tension by the RSS people who are outsiders, but the section of population which is under the influence of extremist communal propaganda is more vocal.
As of now the rumours are rampant in the entire region. The RSS members are carrying out propaganda (D-1 block is most affected by such propaganda) that the muslims have issued open threat that after Bakrid Hindus would be attacked and a massacred would be carried out and hence there must be full preparations for the retaliatory action. Some local youth associated with RSS told us that a programme of Bhandara would be organized around Bakrid (between 23-25 September) and in case the muslims cut buffalo we would cut pig because the pig is sacrificed in Balmiki puja at one of our Hindu brother’s place.
Owing to such rumours and provocative propaganda the communal tension is continuously brewing below the surface. As long as police does not take any action against the new management of temple which is associated with RSS and the outside elements it would be difficult to bring the situation to normal.
The activities of Bajrang Dal and RSS have been intensified these days in the working class areas of Shahabad Dairy, Suraj Park, Raja Vihar, Jahangirpuri, Samaypur Baadli, Baadli village etc. of North-West Delhi.
Our present report and our general observation is about the North-West Delhi, but based on the incidents which have taken place in the last one year there is ample ground to believe that the communal venom is being spread rapidly in the workers’ areas throughout Delhi and the Hindutva forces are especially active to recruit for their Storm Troupers’ gang and goonda gangs from among the dehumanized-lumpen elements and petty bourgeois class. At the same time by breaking the class solidarity on religious ground and by increasing the communal polarization they are weakening the ground of possible resistance of workers against the onslaught of the policies of privatization-liberalisation.
We appeal to all the pro-people forces to unite, to be active to carry out extensive and intensive propaganda campaigns against the communal fundamentalism and especially to organize workers and youth at the grass root level so as to counter the systematic and planned attack by the communal forces on the unity of common people. We appeal that all the pro-people intellectuals, workers’ organizations and student-youth organizations must join together to put immense pressure on the Delhi government and Delhi Police to take stringent action against the communal goonda gangs.
Naujawan Bharat Sabha
North-West Delhi, 20 September 2015
A copy of this report has been sent to the following:
President of India
Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India
National Human Rights Commission, India
National Commission for Minorities
Commissioner of Police, Delhi
Lt. Governor of Delhi
Chief Minister Delhi
Special Commissioner of Police, Operation: Delhi
DCP North-West Delhi
DCP Outer Delhi