Muslims blockaded roads and brought Tirupur to a standstill in protest against sealing an illegally built mosque. The DMK MLA of the concerned constituency has written to the CM in support of the mosque saying any action will create a ‘tense’ situation among Muslims. As the city was brought to a standstill for many hours, children returning from school, patients and old people had to wait on the road in the scorching heat.
In 2014 residents of Mahalakshmi Nagar in Velampalayam, Tirupur had gone to court against an illegally built mosque cum madrassa in their area. They say that there are no Muslims in the locality and that only people from other areas come to pray here. The previous owner of the building had reportedly sought permission to use it as a banian manufacturing firm. Later few Muslims bought the place and converted it into a mosque cum madrassa.
The Residents Welfare Association complained that the mosque hadn’t obtained permission to function as a place of worship and went to court seeking to seal it. The court had ruled that the mosque cum madrassa was indeed illegal and directed to seal it in 2016. But the mosque wasn’t sealed and the association against went to court accusing officials of contempt of court. Meanwhile, Tirupur District Collector S Vineeth had refused to grant NOC for the building saying only residential buildings can be allowed in the locality and directed the officials to lock and seal the mosque.
Revenue officials and policemen went to seal the illegal mosque on June 30. Islamists opposed the move and sat in protest in front of the mosque. As the news spread to the other parts of the city, Islamists from other areas started protesting and blockading roads in various parts of the busy city. The protest extended for more than 7 hours due to which the traffic was disrupted and the city came to a standstill.
Muslims who came to reportedly picket the EB office on the Avinashi- Tirupur road blocked the highway to perform namaz and brought the traffic to a halt while children, women, patients, and old people were left stranded under the blazing sun.
Hindu organisations and locals allege that a DMK MLA is behind inciting Muslims to protest. Selva Raj, Tirupur South MLA, had written to the CM saying, “Implementing the court order will create tension among the Muslims”. The public took offense to this as only a few months ago 9 temples were demolished in nearby Coimbatore in one go and countless other temples were razed citing a court order.
A woman had questioned the appeasement of Muslims and the lackluster approach of the police officials in dealing with the blockade. The audio of her raising pertinent questions to an official has gone viral on social media with many agreeing with her and questioning the ‘secular’ credentials of the DMK government. In the audio, the woman lamented that kids were cooped inside their school buses in the scorching heat with small ones crying in fear as the traffic came to a standstill for many hours.
She asked how many DMK MLAs came to support Hindus when more than 200 temples were demolished by the same DMK government, citing Tirupur DMK MLA supporting Muslims. “This is why they feel emboldened. If we the majority start hitting roads in protest like the minorities, against the ruling government’s onesided actions, will the government continue?”, she asked. The woman appears to belong to the Devendra Kula Vellalar community which has sought the central government to remove their caste from the SC list and move to the OBC list.
She recalls how the Devendra Kula Vellalar community organised protests to demand they be removed from the SC list and moved to the OBC list by following the rules and obtaining permission from officials. “Why is the police department protecting those who do not respect the law? Why isn’t the ‘force’ used there?”, she questioned. She said that the public is asking whether DMK came to power only through Muslim votes and that, “Didn’t we Hindus vote them?”, is the anger among Hindus. She also pointed out that the DMK MLA who should have ensured that the court order to demolish the mosque is followed, extended support to the Muslim protest.
In the end, she wondered whether the police department is inciting the Muslim community and being a mere spectator to their antics. The DMK government has been on a temple demolishing spree since it came to power. It has been citing a High Court order which directed the government to remove encroachments in water bodies to raze temples situated on the banks of ponds, lakes and canals. Hindu organisations allege that more than 200 temples have been demolished by the DMK government in this manner in the last year. Reports on temple demolitions can be read here 1, 2, 3, 4.
Meanwhile, the protest was a success as the revenue officials stalled the sealing and the Wakf board went to the court which ordered for the status quo to be maintained in the issue.
Apart from recognising and questioning the role of DMK in crushing Hindu rights and giving a long rope to abrahamics, following the SC’s remarks on Nupur Sharma, the Hindus have also started wondering whether the judge who ruled that the illegal mosque should be held responsible for “loose tongue” if anything untoward had happened due to the blockade.