Unity resurfaces in Trilokpuri

Hindus, Muslims at JJ colony blame 'outsiders' for creating tension

While much of Bawana’s main jhuggi jhopri colony was busy preparing for the Muharram processions on Tuesday, some of its Hindu and Muslim residents took it upon themselves to portray a united front.

They sat together and discussed the problems plaguing their colony, established in 2004 after thousands of people were resettled there from Yamuna Pushta in east Delhi. Elders from both communities posed together for the media.

The point they all stressed upon was that the disharmony among the two communities in Bawana was the handiwork of the residents of the local villages, rather than those from their own resettlement colony.

They referred to the villagers as “outsiders”. “There has never been any communal tension in Bawana before. It all began during Bakr-Eid last year. Even now, you will not see any problem between Hindus and Muslims living within this colony,” said Eid Mubarak, a student.

A few shops in the JJ colony were open on Tuesday. Those belonged to both Hindus and Muslims.

“Members of this colony cannot afford riots. If we don’t work for a day, we don’t eat that night. The outsiders do not intend to target only the Muslims of JJ colony.

They want the entire JJ colony removed. They see us as threats because our new generations are getting education and we are doing better than them,” said Deepak Tiwary, a mobile phone shop owner.

Several youths from both communities claimed to be part of an initiative to end crime and rampant consumption of drugs in the colony.

“Once employers see the address of the youths from this colony, they are refused jobs irrespective of whether they are Hindus or Muslims. About a hundred of us are working to change this perception,” said Mohd Abdul Rab.

Some Muslim leaders said they were disappointed that the JJ colony members were not invited to the mahapanchayat held on Sunday where apprehensions about the Muharram processions were voiced.

“We should have been called for the discussions. We came up with a solution even without an invitation. If they had invited us to discuss the issue, there would have been less tension,” said Javed Sheikh.

At the nearby Bawana villages, however, people did little to conceal their reservations about the procession.

“Last year, I had objected to a youth wielding a stick in front of my customers at the doors of my shop. They became aggressive with me and police had to step in,” said Rahul.

Several villagers said that reports of JJ Colony Muslims indulging in cow slaughter led to the sudden eruption of anger against them.

However, none of them said they had actually seen a cow being slaughtered.

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