New Delhi: The police in Uttarkashi district of the Indian state of Uttarakhand have registered an FIR after posters threatening Muslim traders to leave the area by June 15 were put up in Purola town, following a violent protest.
The provocative posters, which were placed on the shutters of several shops, called Muslims “Love Jihadi” and warned them of dire consequences if they don’t leave before the Mahapanchayat planned for 15 June.
“If you don’t oblige, time will tell what is going to happen,” threatened the poster. Muslims run about 30-40 shops in the Purola main market.
Taking cognisance of the posters, the police filed an FIR at Purola police station against unidentified persons under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). “We have filed the FIR against unidentified people for promoting enmity between different groups and threatening a particular community under relevant sections of the IPC. Our efforts are on to identify those who put up the posters in the Purola main market,” said Purola station house officer K.S. Chauhan.
Two days ago, members of Hindutva outfits held protests in Barkot and attacked shops and houses belonging to the Muslims.
However, the police are yet to take any action against the Hindutva goons. The campaign against the Muslims started when a girl attempted to elope along with some men on 26 May.
In this regard, the police have arrested 23-year-old motorcycle mechanic Jitender Saini and 24-year-old Ubed Khan. The Hindutva outfits picked up the issue and started targeting the religious identity of one accused by describing it as a case of “Love Jihad”.
On May 29, a march was held on the issue in Purola which turned violent after the agitators attacked shops and establishments belonging to the Muslims. A similar protest was held on June 03 under the banner of Yamuna Ghati Hindu Jagriti Sangathan. Nearly 900 people took part in it.
Meanwhile, some members of the Muslim community have left the area and moved to other places.
Saleem, a 35-year-old garment shop owner, who went to his brother’s house in Dehradun, said he didn’t want to immediately return due to the communal tension. “If they want us to leave the ‘Pahad’ (hills), the authorities should compensate us for the properties owned by us,” he was quoted by Indian media as saying.
A delegation of Muslim traders also met the Parula SDM (sub-divisional magistrate) and submitted a memorandum urging the local administration to provide security and safety to them.
The traders said that for the last 10 days, they could not do any business in the area. There is an atmosphere of fear and insecurity among the Muslims as the police have not given any strong assurance of providing them security.
Raees, a clothes trader, was cited by the Indian media as saying that Muslims are with the police and other traders when it comes to stopping criminal activities. “But we should be given security so that we can run our business freely,” he said.
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