Mumbai: “We want to live in peace,” is the only claim of Muslims after 25 years of Babri Masjid demolition. There is no doubt the demolition and its aftermath of riots has left a mark on the lives of members of that community. Muslim residents who have survived criticism revealed an incident like Babri cannot be forgotten at any cost and should not be repeated with anyone ever.
When the Free Press Journal visited Mohammed Ali Road, Dongri and Pydhonie, prominent areas of Mumbai dominated by Muslims, on Tuesday, the revelations of locals were enthralling. While speaking to the reporter who was perspiring because he did not want to hurt any religious sentiments, Asif Mithaiwala, owner of Suleman Usman Bakery, said, “We are not scared to talk to you but you yourself are perspiring. We are approachable people and do not want anything but peace. We are Humans after all.”
Residents revealed though time has changed there is a fear within them which restricts them from living freely. Mohammed Aslam, a resident said, “If the authorities and government do not want to help the common man then it is okay. But do not divide us as Hindus or Muslims. We want to live in peace and harmony and cannot even think of an incident like Babri in our wildest dreams. It should never happen to anyone at any cost.”
Locals mentioned leaders of political parties have not done much for their community. Kalim Shaikh, a stall owner, said, “Leaders from political parties do not consider the concerns of locals. The saffron parties still continue to look at us and treat us differently. It is time to let go of hatred which exists without any reason.”
An azan call was given at various mosques in South Mumbai at 3:45 pm to remember the incident and pay homage to those who lost their lives in 1993 riots. “Things have changed as time has passed by. Humanity comes first and then everything else. We have no objection and will accept the ruling of the court. We just do not want 1993 to be repeated,” said Mithaiwala.
Life for Muslims has changed since the incident because situations have become comparatively peaceful. A resident said, “Today we can live freely in India. But there is still a mild fear which prevents us. This will change only when people change the way they look at us and we change the way we conduct ourselves.”