Protests in Ajmer after Hindutva groups target Dargah, threaten to demolish it

Photo Credit: Aadil Raza Khan

Shiv Sena Hindustan general secretary Lakhan Singh’s had made an appeal to Hindu groups to initiate a campaign seeking Hindu support for demolishing the centuries-old shrine

Ajmer: In an ongoing volley of hate speeches, another Hindutva group, which have been mushrooming in India, and are no longer a fringe, has attacked the Ajmer Dargah.

Shiv Sena Hindustan, a religious-turned-political outfit active in the state of Rajasthan, targeted the famous Ajmer shrine and Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti with derogatory remarks, leading to tension in the city.

According to a report by Aadil Raza Khan, for The Wire, the khadims (custodians) of Dargah Ajmer Sharif filed a complaint against the organisation on December 22 and demanded an immediate ban on the group.

In early December, Rajasthan witnessed a gruesome hate-crime against a Muslim man, Afzarul. The murderer burnt the body and recorded a video. The incident took place in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district. Shiv Sena Hindustan had staged a violent protest near the Udaipur court premises in support of Shambhulal Regar, Afrazul’s murderer.

The trigger to the protests at Ajmer was when Shiv Sena Hindustan’s general secretary Lakhan Singh made an appeal to volunteers to initiate a campaign seeking Hindu support for demolishing the centuries-old shrine, claiming that a Hindu temple used to exist at the site of the dargah.

The dargah is considered one of the most notable instances of syncretism in India with people of all faiths thronging to the shrine of ‘Gharib Nawaz’, patron saint of the poor.

Khadims of the dargah say that the shrine has been a symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity for the last 800 years, and that this is the first time that any group has tried to mobilise Hindus against the dargah.

The Khadims of the dargah said that the incumbent government has failed to deliver its developmental promises. They said that the rise in hate crimes, especially against minorities, give a clue that something else is cooking instead of the much-hyped development agenda.

By-polls to a Lok Sabha seat and assembly seats are due in the Ajmer constituency. According to the khadims, fringe groups and political parties are trying to deflect the attention of common people and traders from the real issues and unfortunately, and the ruling party is ignoring this fact for its own political mileage.

In 2011, terror accused Swami Aseemanand, a key figure in the Hindutva terror network, who was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from Haridwar, had confessed to have chosen the Ajmer dargah as a target to deter Hindus from going there.

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