Rajat Sharma

Communal tension over Kanwariyas can be dangerous for social unity

aaj ki baat_frame_438Curfew had to be imposed in a small town called Malpura in Rajasthan’s Tonk district after communal clashes took place for two days consecutively. A group of Muslims attacked Kanwariyas who were carrying holy Ganga water to temples. There was stoning and some vehicles were set on fire, after the Kanwariyas passed through a Muslim-dominated locality. Fifteen Kanwariyas were injured. The situation is now under control. Similarly, in UP’s Bareilly district, tension arose after Kanwariyas insisted on passing through a Muslim-dominated locality. The local BJP MLA sat on dharna demanding that Kanwariyas be allowed to pass through the locality.

Kanwar Yatra takes place every year, when pilgrims carry holy Ganga water on foot to temples for worshipping Lord Shiva in the month of Shravan. For Hindus in northern India, this yatra carries significance. The kanwariyas pass through localities which have temples, mosques and gurudwaras. They pass through both Hindu- and Muslim-dominated localities. If members of one community insists that they would not allow them to pass, and then indulge in stoning, this is unacceptable.

Such incidents have led to local Hindu leaders in Bareilly and Tonk threatening not to allow ‘tazia’ processions during Mohurram. They have also threatened not to allow Muslims to offer namaaz prayers in the open. Both these tendencies are not good. This can weaken our fabric of social unity. Leaders of both Hindu and Muslim communities should understand that they must co-exist peacefully and allow others to bring out processions and perform prayers.

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