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'DNA' special: Hostilities stamp out centuries-old festive spirit in riot-riddled UP

Wednesday, 28 November 2012 - 10:30am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA
Dalit and Muslim communities spar over state govt decision to fence graveyards, wakf lands.

As inter-community relations stand ruined in the rural landscape of Uttar Pradesh, festivals like Dussehra and Eid al-Azha (Baqr Eid) have wreaked havoc, instead of bringing harmony.

While clashes erupted in Faizabad, the district town of Ayodhya, after miscreants threw colour on a Dussehra procession near Shia Imamia Masjid, and the ensuing tension kept the town under curfew even on Eid, Rashid village in Mirzapur, Shahjahanabad, Ghaziabad and Sant Kabeer Nagar saw the age-old practice of goat sacrifices on Eid al-Azha becoming the bone of contention.

Open drains, overflowing filth and huge garbage dumps have become synonymous with Muslim localities in Tilhari and Mansurpore Jaroda villages in Saharanpur district, Kosi Kalan in Mathura and Nizamabad in Azamgarh as Dalits (mostly Valmikis) refuse to clean Muslim neighbourhoods in protest against the fencing of graveyards.

Powerful urban development minister Azam Khan had persuaded the Samajwadi Party (SP) government to allocate Rs200 crore for the survey and fencing of graveyards across the state, which enraged Dalits and other communities. They had been using open spaces in graveyards for community uses like drying cowdung and tending to animals. Khan had ordered the building of enclosures on a priority basis around graveyards and wakf land plots.


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