The Jungpura episode: Community Vs Communality.

The recent episode of the demolition of an illegal mosque in Jungpura in New Delhi has been an eye opener for all concerned. Apart from blinkered governance, it has to rate as a most bizarre case of the government arguing against its own property!

What seemed like a protracted legal battle of a well-meaning, law abiding Resident Welfare Association to ensure that public land is not encroached, and what was dutifully and diligently followed by the DDA following an order from the High Court has turned into just the thing the Congress wanted – a communal issue.

Congratulations Congress! But clearly there is more than meets the eye here.

I have spoken to the RWA concerned and Monu Chadha the President of the Jungpura RWA who has now asked for support and has indicated that they are under extreme stress and direct threat. Their request for security has not even been considered by the CM who purports to be a custodian of rights of the middle class through her much hyped Bhagidari scheme. Today, the Bhagidar is left deserted and derided by the CM for causing harm to the election prospects of her party, herself and her son.

It is being alleged that this entire episode was scripted, and that the CM was in cahoots with the Shahi Imam from the beginning. The argument looks valid. It is impossible that the CM was unaware of the demolishment order. It is impossible that her office was unaware of the sensitive nature of the issue. It is impossible that the CM’s office did not have intelligence on the response of the Muslim clergy and its supporters. Everybody knows that all matters relating to Muslims are always sensitive in our country – so why did she not intervene earlier or prepare the ground or take the people concerned into confidence and instead wait for a conflagration? After all, Mr. Monu Chadha’s RWA is also part of the Bhagidari scheme and he is personally known to the C.M.

The facts of the case are evident of the charge. The CM organised this charade in an orchestrated manner to deflect from the pressures mounting on her government, owing to scams upon scam and the spiraling cost of living that her government and her party have bequeathed to the populace of the city and the country.

Today we are informed that the same lawyer represents the Chief Minister as well as the warring Waqf Board and its group of lawbreakers.

It is clear that this episode was designed to shore up the image of both, the CM and the Imam within that community, apart from presenting the Congress as its messiah. It also follows that this charade was planned to detail so that it would secure the CM’s son’s constituency – and to bail out her beleaguered government from the scars of multiplying scams and a total failure to arrest prices or provide even basic governance to the city’s residents.

There is mounting evidence that this was indeed the case: look at her prompt volte face after the demolition. Look at the synonymity in her views and the Imam’s charge. Suddenly, the High Court was in the wrong! Strangely, the public discourse dried up and the serious issue of encroachment – an issue that has burned Delhi just three years back – was again sought to be subsumed by the will of the religiously polarized political brass in the city.

I have exhorted the apex body of RWAs in Delhi, the United RWAs Joint Action [URJA] to look into the facts of the case and support the Jungpura RWA in its fight against illegal occupation in and around their colonies and their right to an encroachment-free and safe and secure neighbourhood. I hope they speak up.

The HC’s observations at yesterday’s hearing were a sad reflection of the mounting pressure on it to yield to violent threats. The subdued if not chastised HC seemed wilting under the pressure orchestrated by the perpetrators and the government’s subtle encouragement to them.

I am concerned that governance is facing its greatest challenge today and if communal interests take over community interest then it augurs badly for development, democracy and the nation. And if we do not speak up now, we will never be able to defend the law in the future.


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