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After Dharchula, Muslims threatened at Jhoolaghat in Pithoragarh

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After Dharchula, Muslims threatened at Jhoolaghat in Pithoragarh

B.D. Kasniyal

Pithoragarh, March 20

Close on the heels of incidents at Dharchula town where ‘outside’ traders were asked to leave by local traders body, another incident in which the miniscule Muslim minority members were threatened against offering ‘namaz’ and wearing skull caps by right wing members belonging o the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members  at Jhoolaghat town on Indo-Nepal border on March 18, 2024.

A communal situation was averted on the intervention of local police and senior citizens following the incident in which a leader associated with a senior BJP leader threatened Muslim community members from performing ‘Namaz’ during the ongoing fasting month of ‘Ramzan’ in their homes.

Jhoolaghat Market

“When 6 members of our family have gathered to offer ‘Namaz’ in my house on March 18th, two youth came and objected to offering of ‘Namaz’ and threatened us against wearing skull caps and pyjamas. We informed the local police, who invited us and the concerned youth next day at the police station and cautioned the youths against any such threats in future,” said Ayub, a Muslim, resident of Jhoolaghat town from past half a century.

Jhoolaghat SHO, Suresh Kamboj said that such communal elements will not be tolerated in this sensitive border town who threaten members of another community to cease their way of prayer. “We have cautioned the youths, against such acts in future and the situation is normal in the town,” claimed the SHO.

Ayub said that there are only 12 Muslim community members living in Jhoolaghat, all settled in town some 50 years ago.”Out of these, 2 families are wool carders, two are barbers and another a tailor master,” said Ayub.

Jhoolaghat town on the banks of river Kali

Ayub said that the Muslims in Jhoolaghat are highly integrated with local community of Jhoolaghat from past two generations and invite them on every auspicious occasion.” When my grandson was born some 8 months ago, I, also invited the whole shopkeepers of Jhoolaghat for a feast. I gave them money and a feast was also organised by Hindu community members at Mahesani temple,” said Ayub.

Rajesh Pangariya, a journalist from Jhoolaghat town said that the Muslim community members are integral part of Jhoolaghat town and each members of town is standing for their security and religious freedom. He said communal forces are out to disturb age old harmony.

Shops belonging to ‘outsiders’ that had remained closed for some days following edict passed by local traders union to leave in Dharchula town of Pithoragarh.

Earlier, in Dharchula local traders Union had passed an edict asking 91 traders to leave the town terming them as ‘outsiders’. There had been demonstrations against such ‘outsiders’ following an incident in which two local minmor girls eloped with teo Muslim youth of Bareilly working at Dharchula. The girls were recovered and the culprit youth were arrested within three days by the police. However, the Local Traders body and right wing organisations carried out the campaign against ‘outsiders’ ordering them to quit by March 15, 2024. Many of these ‘outsiders’ out of fear did not open their establishments for few days. Following a hue and cry, the local administration was forced to file a police case against five named and 40 other unnamed persons for trying to enforce their illegal and unconstitutional edict. However, none has been arrested as yet.


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