Sikhs and Muslims Unite Against Hindu Radicals in Sectarian Clash

Sectarian Clash

Sectarian tensions that had been simmering last month, after Hindu radicals targeted shops owned by Muslims and staged demonstrations outside a mosque in Kashmir, turned into a full fledged clash in Punjab, with Shiv Sena activists on one side and Sikhs, Muslims and Dalits on the other. According to the case registered by the police in Phagwara against eight identified Hindu radicals and 40 to 50 unidentified others, the clash took place after Hindu radicals pelted stones at a mosque, hurled abuses at Muslim residents and executed pre-planned attacks on their shops and local businesses.

Reportedly, the situation turned from bad to worse despite intelligence inputs warning authorities beforehand. Even though the police managed to deter the clash once by asking Shiv Sena activists to take a step back from the mosque where local Muslims had gathered for their weekly prayers, the Hindu radicals returned after some time to instigate violence with the worshippers by brick batting them. It was not long before the worshipers retaliated.

The Muslims who were involved in the clash had earlier announced that they would be visiting the sub-divisional magistrate’s office to submit a memorandum. However, Superintendent of Police Ajinder Singh reached the mosque in which they were praying to dissuade them from moving forward and he did succeed in placating them. Still, Shiv Sena activists returned to the mosque, burning a Pakistani flag, shouting hurtful slogans and organizing a rally on the streets. After their procession, the radicals returned to the mosque for a third time, and while Singh along with Deputy Superintendent KPS Chahal pleaded them to stop, they continued to brickbat the mosque until the other side decided to retaliate.

A standoff continued between both sides and the Hindu radicals refused to budge despite police officials trying their best to amicably resolve the situation. As word spread, Sikhs and Dalits from across Phagwara arrived to lend their support to the Muslims.  Together, they managed to chase away the Hindu radicals, who had moved inside a temple and another neighbouring building from which to safely launch their attacks. Once reinforcements arrived, the police found themselves better equipped to handle the troublesome situation. They eventually dispersed the unruly crowd by threatening to cane all miscreants.

Local authorities alleged right wing Shiv Sena activists, who not only believe in Hindu nationalism but also to align with the nation’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, were on a mission to incite communal clashes by targeting minority communities in the area.

“What business did they have to come towards the mosque even as they were stopped by the police but they pushed the cops aside to attack the mosque,” said Punjab Congress Secretary Jarnail Nangal.

Afterwards Imam Avaim Ur Rehman lodged a complaint with the police that led to the arrests of eight identified people under sections 148, 149, 295A, 307 and 427 of the India Penal Code and section 25 of the Arms Act, as one of them was also carrying a pistol.

This is not the first time that Sikhs have lent their support to Muslims in India. Just last month, a gurudwara in Uttar Pradesh organized an iftar party for those celebrating Eid in a generous act of interfaith solidarity.  Shri Gurudwara Teg Bahadur Shahibji in Lucknow received praise from all quarters after Sikhs welcomed Muslims, who were ready to break their daylong fast, to do so in their company.

Photo Credits: India Today

If you like our posts, subscribe to the Atheist Republic newsletter to get exclusive content delivered weekly to your inbox. Also, get the book "Why There is No God" for free.

Click Here to Subscribe

Donating = Loving

Heart Icon

Bringing you atheist articles and building active godless communities takes hundreds of hours and resources each month. If you find any joy or stimulation at Atheist Republic, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.

Or make a one-time donation in any amount.