New Delhi: Thousands of Muslims from various corners of the country converged in central Delhi on Monday for an event organised by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind to spread the message of communal harmony and peace, reminding one of an event organised by various communist parties in 2016 where they carried the National Flag of India for the first time since the formation of CPI in 1925.
People, nearly all Muslims, from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi, among others, attended the event at the Talkatora Stadium where leaders from all faiths called for unity among all religions and peace, said Mohammad Younus Ansari, 28, a resident of Delhi.”We are one and there is no reason why we should hate each other. We have remained together for decades, overcoming every challenge thrown at us. There’s a certain section of people who are trying to instigate one community against the other for their vested interests. We will not them succeed,” he said.
Mohammad Iqbal, 58, said, “India belongs to all. We also fought for its independence… nurtured its soil with our sweat and blood. Some people for their narrow political gains are trying to make project the country as a Hindu Rashtra, and we are against it.”
“Communal harmony has taken a hit in recent times. A number of incidents of lynching have come to light in various States. People are being killed on allegations of cattle smuggling. It never happened earlier. The conference aimed at addressing these concerns. The religious leaders have called for maintaining peace and harmony. Violence has never done any good to anyone,” Mohammad Azad, 61, said.
A traffic policeman said people started trickling in the early hours on Monday and, by 6 AM, the stadium was filled to capacity. As a result, a huge crowd spilt on to the streets leading to traffic snarls. The vehicles moved at snail’s pace as a large number of buses that ferried people for the “Aman and Ekta Sammelan” stood on the roadsides, disrupting the smooth movement of traffic.
Officials said commuters coming towards Lutyens’ Delhi were stuck in a mile-long jam due to the event attended by around 16,000 Muslims. The Delhi Traffic Police had warned commuters against taking the route in the morning. “Traffic will remain heavy on Talkatora Marg and Vandemataram Marg due to a function at Talkatora Stadium. Kindly avoid these stretches,” it had tweeted.
On 18 February 2016, thousands of communists, while protesting the case of sedition against some students of JNU, had carried the National Flag for the first time since the inception of their parties in the 1920s to make the point that their love for the country was not any less than that of other Indians.
Such an assertion by a large number of Muslims under the umbrella of RSS ideologue Indresh Kumar is commonplace. His Muslim Rashtriya Manch was founded in 2002 by the then sarsanghchalak KS Sudarshan with the stated aim of bringing Muslim communities close to Hindus in India. Today’s event stood out because of the non-RSS stamp on it.