By TCN Special Correspondent,
Lucknow: Hardly 43 miles from the national capital New Delhi, Meerut is now regarded as the new hub of new development. MNC offices, educational institutes, factories, malls etc now make this city vibrant which is leaping fast to catch up with the national capital.
However as one goes deep, the city starts bleeding. Meerut is also synonymous with communal tension and violence. Hardly a month passes when the city does not witness incidents of violence.
The latest in the list is the violence at area Sotiganj on previous Wednesday (July 4). Violence had erupted between Muslims and Sikh community over a trivial issue. Fortunately no one was injured but the fragile fabric of communal harmony was once again shattered.
Sotiganj locality of Meerut is a market of junk dealers. People say that stolen bikes and cars are dismantled here and vanish within few minutes. This happens despite the area having a police post to monitor these things.
On Wednesday a minor issue of repairing of a cooler turned violent. The fight between a Muslim customer and Sikh shopkeeper was given communal overtone. Within minutes the trader leaders of BJP and Sikh community leaders also reached the scene. Police controlled the situation. Cases were lodged from both the sides but Sikh leaders pressurised the DM Vikas Gotalwal to expunge serious sections against Sikhs. Muslims retreated and are now living with constant fear.
This is not the first incident which has occurred after CM Akhilesh Yadav took charge in Samajwadi Party government. The whole city was thrown into communal frenzy when Muslims took out procession against the posting of defamatory pictures of Holy Kaaba on facebook. The
incident occurred on June 18. Police lodged cases but nothing has been done as no arrests could be made so far. Muslims expressed their anger but feel let down by the local administration and state government. The feeling that anyone can get away after hurting their religious sentiments is gaining ground.
On 10 June the city again witnessed communal tension due to an eve-teasing incident at Begumpul. Police inaction was again visible as huge crowd was allowed to assemble.
On May 22 again communal passions were high after the death of a child in Sotiganj junkyard godown. Not much was known and the case still remains unsolved.
These four incidents within three months have kept the police at tenterhooks while Muslims are living on the apprehension of any untoward incident. It has become very easy to blame them for every such incident terming them communal. But Muslims of Meerut have shown their secular character when it was needed the most.
One such recent example is a road accident on July 6 at Kankarkheda in Meerut. The accident was between a bus and a truck resulting in the death of four kanwariyas who are Hindu devotees and are on a voyage in Saawan month. As the accident occurred few Muslims present there
rushed to the spot. They used their vehicle for taking the injured kanwariyas to hospital. One such person Ashfaq used his car to take them to hospital and then arranged for medicines and other things. He even quarreled with doctors for better medical attention. Later when the serious ones were referred to Delhi he accompanied them as their family members were not present.
Will anyone listen to the feelings of Ashfaq, a Muslim from Meerut who wants to live in peace?