Hindus are leaving Malpura of District Tonk in Rajasthan in hordes. Hundreds of Hindu families submitted a memorandum with five demands to Sub-Divisional Magistrate Rakesh Kumar Meena this week in an attempt to reverse the exodus. Families living in wards 12 and 21 of this town in Tonk held a protest march in the town and demanded justice.
The memorandum addresses Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot as well. The protesters complained to the SDM that, since 1950, Malpura has been increasingly witnessing communal strife.
The memorandum says nearly 800 families have migrated out of the Rajasthan town so far. The people of the old part of the town are the most severely affected by Muslim hooliganism, the memorandum suggests. Hindus allege that they are leaving their homes because of Muslims and no other reason.
Meanwhile, Muslims are buying houses once owned by Hindus, enticing them also with sums much higher than the market rate of properties in this part of the country. In the Mahavir Chowk area of the Jain society, a Muslim family bought Nehemraj Sharma’s house by paying an amount much higher than the circle rate and the Muslim family has occupied the property without getting it registered. The Hindu protesters are calling this “property jihad”.
The Hindus allege that the population of Muslims in the area is increasing by the day, creating an atmosphere that looks alien and hostile to the old inhabitants of the area. Hindus alleged that there are religious temples of many communities including of Gurjars and Jains in the town. Due to threats from Muslims, some of the temples have locked the premises. They say that meat shops have come up around Gandhi Park in the vicinity of temples, as though deliberately trying to harass and chase away Hindus. The managements and priests of some temples have moved the deities to temples in other towns to save them from desecration by Muslims.
The memorandum complains that even the administration is so intimidated by Muslims that it changed the routes of movement of police and other government officers.
Meanwhile, Muslim youths appear to be increasing Hindu fear psychosis by roaming the area in large groups menacingly riding motorcycles, sometimes raising Islamic slogans and, at other times, squatting on the streets and making obscene gestures. Due to this, it has become difficult for women and girls to come out, the Hindus told the SDM.
Collector Chinmayi Gopal calls it a “minor issue”. Other officers are not ready to face the camera.
In an ironic twist then, the Malpura administration swung into reverse action after the protest march. The officials said that the activities of pasting posters outside Hindu houses alleging fear of Muslims was an “act to disturb the communal harmony of the city”. Officials warned the Hindus to remove such posters from their houses.
The administration had had to clamp curfew in Malpura on quite a few occasions. The first communal dispute took place in Malpura in 1952. The town last witnessed a curfew two years ago after a group of Muslims threw stones at a Dussehra procession, triggering communal strife in the area.