Owaisi's tweet sparks Purola issue, triggers communal tension in Uttarakhand

Section 144 imposed in Purola as Hindu outfits insist on holding Mahapanchayat.
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi (File Photo | EPS)
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi (File Photo | EPS)

DEHRADUN: Amid controversy over an attempt to abduct a minor in Purola, Uttarkashi, the Purola Pradhan Sangathan has announced a 'mahapanchayat' on June 15. In response to the controversy over the announcement of the 'mahapanchayat', All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi reacted sharply to it and demanded the state government to immediately ban the 'mahapanchayat'.

The BJP, on the other hand, hit back, saying,  Owaisi's advocacy of 'love jihad' and 'land jihad' was unacceptable in Devbhoomi. The Party strongly objected to Owaisi's statement on the exodus of a particular community.

"Owaisi is neither an acceptable leader of the Muslim community nor a supporter, he does vote bank politics everywhere by spreading hatred," party's state media in-charge Manveer Singh Chauhan said. Efforts to change the demography in the state will not be allowed to succeed in any way. "His venomous vocabulary cannot spoil the peaceful atmosphere of Devbhoomi", added Spokesperson Chauhan.

Tensions between the two communities in the state over the issue of 'love jihad' have been steadily rising following a tweet by AIMIM national president Asaduddin Owaisi.

In a strong reaction to Purola's announcement, the Muslim community has also called for a Mahapanchayat in Dehradun on June 18, while the Purola Pradhan Sangathan is sticking to the June 15 Mahapanchayat.

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has clarified the government's intention on this, saying, "I have instructed the police and administration to work strictly on population change in Uttarakhand and curb the deteriorating law and order situation here at the earliest".

Zahid Malik, district president of the BJP's minority cell, who has left Purola town, has alleged that "during a protest in Purola on May 27, locals used abusive language against women of a particular community". This has been denied by the people of a particular community living in Purola itself.

In a memorandum to SDM Purola on Monday, Bale Khan, Mohammad Ashraf and Javed, belonging to the Muslim community of Purola, said Zahid Malik's allegations, circulated through a video message on social media, were "completely false, alleging that women from their community were mistreated during the protest.

Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) V Murugesan, in a virtual meeting, directed all superintendents of police to keep a close watch on law and order.

The agitation is unlikely to end soon as some houses and shops belonging to the minority community have been marked with 'X' signs.  Talks with the administration also failed.

"For many decades we people of different communities have been living as a family with mutual brotherhood and complete harmony in Uttarakhand, this is the first time, such an unfortunate atmosphere has been seen," Abdul Wahab, a resident of ISBT Azad Nagar, told this newspaper.

On the other hand, 52 former bureaucrats who are part of the Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG) have written to the Uttarakhand Chief Secretary and Director General of Police expressing their "deep concern" about the recent communal, anti-Muslim programmes in the state.

In letters addressed to the chief secretary and director general of police, the former bureaucrats said, "We note that these incidents come in the wake of a communal campaign in the area, including the call for market closures and rallies in more than 12 cities and hate speeches against Muslims, due to which 42
Muslim families have already fled Purola town on May 28 and Muslim shopkeepers have migrated from Purola.

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