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Varanasi
Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Anti-Hindu actions and hate speech leads to fall in Ajmer dargah visitors

The Ajmer Sharif Dargah in Ajmer, Rajasthan is one of the most popular tourist spots for both Muslims and non-Muslims. It would be expected for the place to be bustling with visitors around the time of festivals, but to everyone’s shock there was a steep decline in the footfall of visitors during the Bakrid weekend and various businesses in the dargah’s vicinity have been hit by nearly 70%.

This fall is a result of a key cleric’s involvement in the Kanhaiya Lal beheading and recent anti-Hindu hate speeches delivered by two other senior maulanas/servers of the dargah

Connection to the Kanhaiya Lal Murder

It has come to light that one of the killers of Hindu tailor Kanhaiya Lal Teli, who was beheaded gruesomely on June 28 had met one of the clerics Gauhar Chishti, who reportedly asked the killers to make a video after they had killed the man. Even more shockingly, Gauhar Chishti is reported to be a relative of the two prime accused, Mohammad Riyaz and Mohammad Ghouse.

 Gauhar Chishti met one of the killers of Kanhaiya Lal and asked him to film a video after they had killed the man. Photo: ETV Bharat

As per various reports, the killers were also going to seek blessings at the dargah after committing the crime, but were caught and arrested by the police midway. It has also emerged that the two killers had close links with the Pakistan based Barelvi organization called Dawat-e-islami and had also infiltrated the local BJP minority cell.

Regular hateful anti-Hindu speeches by clerics

This decline in visitors comes just a few days after various anti-Hindu speeches were heard from the clerics of the famous dargah. Salman Chishti, a Khadim of the dargah, publicly gave death threats and called for the beheading of the former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma. He could be seen on camera, offering his house to anyone who beheads the lady for the alleged ‘blasphemy’. He was later arrested, but Rajasthan Police was found coaching him to say that he was inebriated while making the threat, in order to get him off lightly.

Salman Chishti openly called for the beheading of Nupur Sharma, he was later arrested by the police. Photo: GTN News

Khadim Syed Sarwar Chishti, who is a member of the Anjuman Committee of the Ajmer dargah, had warned about a massive agitation against ‘blasphemy’ that will “shake the country”. Last year, the same man threatened Hindus saying that Muslims had been the rulers and Hindus their subjects and Muslims will rule over Hindus again if the latter attempt to ‘provoke’ the Muslims. In 2020, Syed Sarwar Chishti defended PFI saying the organization was ”saving India’s constitution”.

Call for boycott of Hindu-owned shops boomerangs

When Hindus of the area closed their shops and took out a rally against the brutal murder of Kanhaiya Lal, Syed Sarwar Chishti was heard on a call recording where he called for a boycott of Hindu-owned shops. 

In the audio recording, he can be heard saying, “Hindus of Nalla Bazar and Dargah Bazar in the Ajmer Sharif organized a rally supporting Nupur Sharma. They have called to close the shops till 12 in the noon. I request you all to make these people (Hindus) look miserable. Do this work through our groups of KGN (Khwaja Garib Nawaj). No one should buy anything from their shops in the Dargah Bazar area and the Nalla Bazar area. They earn only through the lovers of the Khwaja Sahab. And see what courage they are attempting, they are closing the shops in front of us. They are supporting Nupur Sharma. Spread this word everywhere you can, so that no one transacts a single rupee with them.”

All local traders, shops and hotels affected by Hindu boycott

According to local vendors, sales went down by 90% and many advanced hotel bookings were canceled in the last couple of days. The streets donned a quiet look even on a Friday. Traders fear a loss of around 50 crores. 

As per India Today, 

Shadab Siddiqui, owner of the famous Sohan Halwa sweet shop, Khwaja Garib Nawaz Sweets, said that the earnings of Ajmer traders have come down by 90 percent. The sale of ‘sohan halwa’ had dipped by a whopping 90 per cent, he added.

Riyaz Khan, owner of Jannat Group of Hotels, said, “The provocative statements made by the clerics had a negative impact on the people coming to Ajmer. Whatever happens in the country, it definitely affects the Ajmer market. The fear has gripped the place after the brutal murder of tailor Kanhaiyalal in Udaipur.

Hotels in Dargah Bazaar, Delhi Gate, Diggi Bazaar and guest houses in Kahdim Mohalla are sustaining heavy losses as devotees have been skipping their visit. Apart from this, the flower business, which was severely affected during the pandemic, has also been hit.

“We have a hotel. Our sales were good for the past years but since statements and issues in Udaipur cropped up, it has led to a complete loss of sales. All our rooms are currently vacant, those who had booked prior to their arrival have now canceled their bookings”, a Hotel owner said as per ANI.

Dinesh Kumar Soni, a local vendor, was also quoted by ANI as saying, “Provocative statements by clerics hit devotees’ footfall to the Sufi shrine. Earlier, our sales were much higher than they are right now. All salesmen here are facing a recession of some kind. People are not coming out as they are scared.”

Conclusion

It is quite ironic that the clerics of such a famous dargah which depends mostly on Hindu visitors openly called for an “economic boycott” of Hindus, just for closing their shops for conducting a peaceful rally, but that in turn resulted in a total boycott of the dargah and establishments around it.

This highlights how Islamic radicalism is now being countered  by ordinary citizens resorting to legitimate means like boycotts. It is not the first time that Ajmer’s dargah has been in the news, In 1992 Ajmer was caught in the middle of a scandal involving forced sexual exploitation of hundreds of school going Hindu girls which was led by a member of the same influential Khadim Family – Farooq Chishti, who happened to be a Youth Congress leader as well. The disturbing history of the Ajmer dargah and its founder Moinuddin Chishti are also slowly percolating among the hitherto ignorant Hindu masses.

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