Anti-Muslim Campaign: Bengaluru Eidgah Row – OpEd


The use of religion for political ambitions has become a fashion in India since the time BJP entered into the political arena. India is a polarized society knot under the secular constitution so that no segment of society is deprived. However, the communal issues in India are at its peak now due to intolerant attitude towards the minorities. The demolition of the Babri Masjid, in the early 1990s encouraged the Hindu extremists and now the communal issues have scouted out in Karnataka by the BJP and its affiliates to generate political traction over the dispute of a 1.12-acre ground, with a Muslim prayer wall, in Hubbali City in north Karnataka. The land was allocated to the Anjuman-i-Islam on lease by the Hubbali-Dharwad Municipal Corporation in the 1920s.

The BJP and its affiliates led an organized campaign to have the disputed property declared a public ground and to hoist the national flag there after it assumed ruthless power in the center. The legal battles for holding up the property have triggered a never ending row between Muslims and Hindu factions leading to communal violence resulting in death causalities and injuries from time to time. The dispute, however, lost steam gradually after the Anjuman-i-Islam itself hoisted the national flag on Republic Day in 1995 in a sign of reconciliation. As the elections in Karnataka are drawing near scheduled in 2023 the right wings groups once again have ignited this issue to ensure absolute power in the state assembly. The Eidgah Maidan issue, in the Chamarajpet region of Bengaluru, could also help the party in elections to the city council, expected to be held around September 2022. 

The Eidgah Maidan, spread over 2.5 acres, is used by Muslims on festival days like Ramzan and Eid al Adha to offer prayers, on other times as a playground by local youngsters, as well as for Ganesha and state formation day festivals. The ownership of the land is unclear and rights are reportedly vested with both civic body BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) and the Wakf board. Although Muslims never created any hurdle for utilization of the ground for Hindu festivals in the past but still the right wing Hindus are consistently demanding that the Chamrajpet Eidgah Maidan be declared a public ground. The BJP people are deliberately creating the row for their political advantage despite the fact that Muslims have offered them to conduct a ceremony in connection with the celebrations of Independence Day on August 15 in the maidan by further allowing them to hoist the national flag on the ground.

 The Chamrajpet Eidgah Maidan issue has reportedly figured in discussions that RSS leaders have held with CM of Karanatka Bommai in recent days. BJP has double standard as officially it talks about harmony and co-existence but practically it doesn’t tighten its members who take law in their hands. A local Muslim political leader Ahmed is of the view that no one is forbidding children to play on the Eidgah ground and it will remain a play ground in normal days. But still the controversy surrounding the ownership of the Chamarajpet Idgah Maidan in Bengaluru is not ending and Hindus are keeping an eye on this lavish Muslim property in the middle of the city of Bengaluru. The Karnataka State Board of Wakfs, however, says the entire 2.10-acre land is a gazette wakf property held by the Central Muslim Association (CMA). Both the board and the CMA have cited a 1964 Supreme Court ruling, which had dismissed a civil appeal filed by the city Corporation of Banglore.

The BJP is taking advantage of being in power and is in position to temper the documents related to the property and to create further fiasco they are confusing Eidgah and Dargah for legal twists. The top official acknowledged that the civic body dominated by BJP and RSS workers had lost the appeal in the Supreme Court but still they are finding excuses to assert their claim on the property. The Hindu activists are also making propaganda that the Muslims wanted to build a mosque on the open land although they have the right to utilize their land the way they like.

This is sorrow state of affairs that BJP for their petty political gains is promoting dirty politics in India and even the international organizations have recorded apprehensions over the maltreatment of minorities in the BJP government. Recently, Nupur Sharma a stalwart of BJP and its spokesperson hurt Muslims across the globe through her indecent remarks about the prophet of Islam which reflects the filthy mindset of the BJP leadership. The hate speech and Islamophobia in India is order of the day and all minorities particularly Muslims are facing hard times fighting for their survival. The worship places, customs, attires, festivals, constitutional rights and properties of minorities are being targeted. It seems that BJP is resolved to turn India into a pure Hindu state by strategically wiping out all minorities or by completely subjugating them as low profile citizens sans all human right sans everything.

The writer is Islamabad expert of Indian affairs and can be reached at [email protected] 

Asad Ali

Asad Ali is an Islamabad based expert of South Asian Affairs

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