Sen's daily

November 1, 2015

Bahai cemetery damaged in India (updated)

Indian Express, November 1, 2015.

A ‘First Information Report’ (a complaint to the police) was registered at Sanganer Sadar police station in the Northern Indian city of Jaipur on Friday, following an attack on the local Bahai cemetery by a mob of about 40-50 persons, allegedly led by a sarpanch (village head).

The FIR says the mob beat up the security guard and damaged the guard room and portions of a partly-built prayer house at about 11.30 am on Friday.

Shocked Bahai community leaders have termed it the first such incident in India against their community. On Saturday, Bahai community members, who number just about 1,000 in Jaipur, came together and issued a joint statement, seeking prompt action. One, Niyaz Alam, said, “During elections to appoint village heads (sarpanch) about a year-and-a-half ago, a contestant promised that he will take possession of our ground and will set up a playground or a school instead, and he was subsequently elected. But we didn’t pay any attention as it is in our religion to be apolitical.”

In 2002, the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) allotted the community a ground at Ram Ki Nangal village of Jaipur to perform the the last rites of their dead and “for 12-13 years, we had no trouble and even organise classes for children and conducted prayers.”

Update November 2: A report from The Wire shows that the watchman has not been seriously harmed, as members of the mob have since gone to his house to threaten him with retaliation if he identifies them to the police. The report states that Baha’i representatives have pointed out that during the sarpanch election campaign, Nathu Jangid, (the current village head) was heard promising the villagers that he would get the burial ground demolished. On certain occasions he called the community ‘Muslim’ while on others ‘Christian’. “Since Baha’is, as a rule, don’t participate in party politics, we ignored the campaign”, the Baha’i statement said.

“After the elections, the sarpanch’s men, from time to time, started threatening and intimidating the chowkidar. One day, the sarpanch, accompanied by some Jaipur Development Authority officials, demanded that we produce the allotment letter for the land. This was shown to them. Despite this, he organised a series of village meetings for getting the burial place removed. But when the watchman was threatened and told to leave the place or face dire consequences, some Bahais met Jangid to appeal for peace. He assured them that the chowkidar would no longer be harassed and that he would resort to legal remedy, to which we agreed,” the statement said.

Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-2s3

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2 Comments »

  1. Another Sad day for Justice

    Comment by Tony Bristow-Stagg — November 1, 2015 @ 07:35 | Reply

    • I would hope for quick justice: other reports have included the name of the supposed ringleader, and there’s no apparent hindrance to the police acting. My first concern is for the watchman who was beaten up: I have seen no reports to say how he is faring, not even his name.

      Comment by Sen — November 1, 2015 @ 22:36 | Reply


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