Members of a residents’ body in Delhi’s Dwarka locality have written to Lieutenant General Anil Baijal asking him to cancel the land allotment made for a Haj House in Sector 22 of the area. On Friday, local Hindutva groups and other organisations held a mahapanchayat, or congregation, at Bharthal Chowk in Dwarka in protest against construction of the facility.
Videos from the event show the protesters making communally sensitive comments and calling for violence if the Haj House is built. Leaders of the Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party have also raised objections to the Haj House.
Haj Houses are facilities where people are accommodated before they go for the Muslim pilgrimage visit of Mecca.
The letter sent to Baijal by the All Dwarka Residents’ Federation claimed that construction of the Haj House will “disturb brotherhood, harmony and peace”. Baijal is also the chairperson of the Delhi Development Authority.
“...Furthermore there will be every possibility of riots, migration of Hindus, and repetition of situation like Shaheen Bagh, Jafrabad and Kashmir,” the letter, dated August 3, stated.
Shaheen Bagh and Jafrabad were sites of massive protests in Delhi against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Meanwhile, videos on social media showed hundreds of people at Friday’s mahapanchayat protesting against the Haj House. A poster of the mahapanchayat showed that those who called for the protest included an organisation called the Hindu Shakti Sangathan, the Dwarka Federation and residents’ welfare associations of the area.
In a related tweet, Dwarka’s deputy commissioner of police said that the station house officer of the Dwarka South police station has been asked to look into the matter.
Videos showed protesters chanting “Jai Shri Ram” and “Vande Mataram” during a march. They also shouted slogans such as: “Ye bhumi hamaari hai, iska faisla hum karenge [This is our land and we will decide its fate].”
In another video, a speaker addressing the crowd said: “We locals will decide on what we shall build here, but we will not let them build the Haj House...The message has been conveyed to the Delhi government, that if they build the Haj House, lakhs of people will assemble and teach them a lesson.”
One of the protesters attending the mahapanchayat said: “Today they [Muslims] will build a Haj House, tomorrow they will construct a madarsa [an Islamic school], then a mazaar [shrine] will come up...150-200 of them will assemble...they will give birth to 70-80 [children], each of them will pelt stones and you [Hindus] will be forced to flee from here.”
Another protester openly called for violence, suggesting that Hindus have had their share of “being defensive” and that it was time to attack.
“I have said repeatedly that Hindus should pick up shastra [arms] and shaastra [holy texts], while they still have time.”
Adesh Gupta, the chief of the Delhi unit of BJP was also present at the mahapanchayat.
“Dilli Dehat [area] has a huge contribution in the development of Delhi and we will not let their voices die down,” he tweeted. “[Delhi Chief Minister] Arvind Kejriwal has his faith on appeasement, and not development.”
The foundation stone for the proposed Haj House was laid in 2008 by the then Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, according to The Indian Express. The project was, however, left in the lurch and the building layout could be completed only in 2018.
Construction of the facility, then scheduled to begin in April 2018, was allotted Rs 93.47 crore, according to the Hindustan Times.