The fear of polarisation stares the holy city ahead of the May 12 polling, with the minority community coming together to put up a united fight against BJP candidate Narendra Modi.
In the surcharged atmosphere of the mystique town, the danger of an event acquiring communal and political overtones is also not ruled out. Saraiya, an old locality, is abuzz about damage to ‘Laat Masjid’ by some miscreants intended to trigger communal riots. A local imam on the condition of anonymity said boundary of a well inside the mosque was damaged on Saturday night and 20-25 bricks were thrown at the mazar. The compound of Laat Masjid is unique as it also houses a temple - living example of Varanasi’s Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb (composite culture).
“The mazar was targeted to trigger riot. We were informed about the damage in the morning which created storm in several localities. We held several rounds of meeting with the people of our community to ensure the situation doesn’t get out of control,” the imam said.
After the incident, Muslim intelligentsia is furiously campaigning in Varanasi, seeking support from Muslim groups and NGOs to stop BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s victory in the holy city.
Arif, a social activist said at least 65 NGOs from across the country are camping in Varanasi to educate voters of terror tsunami that may knock on their doors after Modi’s victory. He said activists from All India Secular Forum and Centre for harmony & peace, PVCHR, Janmitra Nyas and Sagar will also have a meeting with Muslim voters on May 4. “While Modi is talking of development his supporters like Praveen Togadia and Baba Ramdev spewing venom by targeting minorities. People are not scared of Modi, but of ideologue behind the BJP. The biggest issue of Banaras election is communalism and not corruption,” Arif said. A group is also distributing pamphlets which may create further discontent between the Hindu and Muslims.