An atmosphere of communal tension exists in Uttarakhand due to the exodus of Hindus that CM Pushkar Singh Dhami blamed on ‘land-jihad.’ This has resulted in concerns among existing Hindus of a demographic change due to unrestrained population growth of Muslims, in strategically important areas of the state.
District Magistrates (DM) have been directed to monitor the illegal sale or purchase of land, especially in those places. DMs have to check whether the sale of land is based on fear or pressure and take strict action against the land mafia/ jihad and identify the areas where anti-socials live. They should also identify foreign citizens who have purchased land using forged voter cards or other fake ID proofs.
PS Dhami added that an influx of criminal elements from other states has been identified and that they will be dealt with, soon. Elections are scheduled to be in February 2022.
Police & the bureaucracy have been directed to set up peace committees that will also track mafia land deals and add to the existing list of ‘guests’ with a criminal history. The district authorities have also been told to identify foreign nationals who are using forged voter identity cards and other government ID proofs.
An official statement pointed to a possibility of a further departure of Hindus from these places due to ‘demographic change’ ie. an influx of more Muslims. A high-level meeting approved the government order.
The police authorities handling demographic change instead of the revenue department happens in particular situations. They have either been tipped off by police counterparts in other states regarding criminal movement from their area to Uttarakhand or when the crime rates in a particular area or areas have increased substantially, or both.
Following the government decision, Rudraprayag BJP leader Ajendra Ajay said that he had intimated CM PS Dhami about increasing land-jihad in the hilly areas of Uttarakhand. He added that the measure was necessary to identify offenders and to prevent them from disturbing the status quo of Dev Bhoomi, the land of our Gods.
The change in demographic ratio is visible from the gateway of Uttarkhand, Hardwar to Pithoragarh district bordering Nepal. If one excludes the city, 38% of the population now living in the Haridwar district are Muslims. Their educational institutions and places of worship now dominate and this has not gone down well with Hindu organizations.
The local police & the administration settle religious skirmishes for the sake of maintaining law and order but how long will this last? In Hardwar, Jwalapur has the largest Muslim population. Large tracts of land in Bahadrabad, Sarai, Sitapur, Ferupur, Sultanpur, Subha, and Roshanabad of Haridwar, all bordering UP are now owned by Muslim families from western UP and have Muslim dominated demographic ratios. There have been reports of plots for Muslim-only colony in Uttarakhand being sold in Western UP.
CM PS Dhami said that the government’s drive to collect information about new residents will continue. Criminal activities have increased drastically and the whereabouts of such offenders are not available. Such initiatives are needed to curb crimes and deter goons from settling in Uttarakhand.