Muslims alarmed by 'revival' of Ram temple movement

Muslims alarmed by 'revival' of Ram temple movement

Carved stones are seen at the Ram Janmabhomi Nyas-run workshop at Karsevakpuram in Ayodhya on Nov 12, 2018. PTI photo

For a casual visitor it appears to be business as usual in the crowded and chaotic markets in the twin towns of Ayodhya and Faizabad, but it only camouflages the apprehensions among the people, especially the Muslim community.

Their worry is the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's (VHP) proposed 'dharm sabha' (religious meet), which the outfit has claimed will attract one lakh 'Rambhakts' (disciples of Lord Rama).

Local Muslims appear to alarmed more by the apprehensions that a large number of people from outside the twin towns could attend the meeting, which is scheduled to be held on November 25.

''We have cordial relations with our Hindu brethren, but the outsiders may create trouble here,'' said a Muslim fruit seller in the crowded Rikabganj market in Faizabad, which was recently renamed as Ayodhya by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

Iqbal Ansari, son of the oldest litigant in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suits Hashim Ansari, said that the Muslims in the twin towns feared for their safety in view of the proposed 'dharm sabha' and urged the administration to beef up security.

Iqbal Ansari also threatened to leave Faizabad if adequate security arrangements were not made to ''safeguard lives and properties'' of Muslims.

''There is fear among the Muslims here.... Security should be beefed up... We will leave the town before November 25 if adequate security arrangements are not made,'' Ansari said.

Khalid Ahmed Khan, a resident of Faizabad and representative of one of the petitioners in the title suits, however, sought to put up a brave face and said that the Muslims were not ''scared'' by the VHP's ''tactics'', which he termed as ''pure politics''.

''We have seen the worst... We are not scared. We cannot be forced to surrender the land of Babri Mosque.... We want the Supreme Court to decide the title of land and not distribute the land as was done by the Allahabad High Court,'' Khan told DH in Ayodhya.

He said that 19 Muslims were killed and over 400 houses belonging to community members were torched after the demolition of the Babri Mosque on December 6, 1992.

Khan, who represented Mehfoozur Rehman, a petitioner in the title suits, quoted the Waqf Act of 1995 to state that the land of the mosques could not be transferred.

''Even Babar, the Mughal emperor, would not have been able to transfer the land,'' he remarked.

Uttar Pradesh police chief O P Singh said on Wednesday that the state government was committed to ensure safety and security of all the people in the state. 

With the VHP set to turn the November 25 event into a show of strength by bringing ''Rambhakts'' from across the country to Ayodhya, the residents of the twin towns were likely to remain on the edge till then.