AHMEDABAD - Citizens from cross section of the society from Gujarat and the rest of India have demanded Governor of Gujarat, Dr. Kamla’s intervention in alerting the State Police Administration to withdraw the permission to the VHP’s 3- Day Conference 'Dharm Prasar Akhil Bharatiya Karyakarta Sammelan' from 5 to 7 November, to be held at the Pirana village, about 25 kms away from the Ahmadabad City.
The Pirana village has approximately equal population of Hindus and Muslims, a 600-year-old Dargah (shrine) of Sufi saint Imam Shah Baba is located here. Devotees from both the communities visit this Dargah.
But, scheduled VHP conference, in which senior leaders of Sangh Parivar like Pravin Togadia, Ashok Singhal, Bhaiyyaji Joshi and KS Sudarshan, along with hundred others are expected to attend, has created a sense of fear among the peace loving people of the village.
It is said that, VHP has decided to lodge participants of the conference at the premises of Dargah of the Sufi saint while the conference itself will be held at the village's Gurukul School run by the RSS. The meeting is likely to be attended by around 2,500 people. In this case, villagers are afraid that there may be conflict at the Dargah on November 7, on the day of Bakr-Id.
A section of the trustees of the shrine has objected to the conference and involvement of Dargah’s trustees in organizing committee, saying it may cause social tension in the area. It is said that Out of 10 trustees, three are Muslims while the remaining seven are Hindus. Now, consequently, the arrangements at Dargah premises have become the controversy among them.
Pirana village had witnessed communal violence some six years back, mainly over the issue of the management of Sufi shrine.
Suspecting the intentions of conference and expressing the grave apprehensions, citizens in the memorandum to Governor said, “It appears as not a coincidence that the timing of the VHP’s three day convention after years of silence comes at a time when efforts of the victims of 2002 and legal rights groups to get justice for the state sponsored violence of 2002. Only recently the Supreme Court of India has directed further proceedings in the case filed against the chief minister and 61 others.”
A similar communication has been also sent to the Director General of Police Chittaranjan Singh, SP Rajiv Rajan Bhagat and the National Human Rights Commission and the National Minorities Commission.
Among the signatories are Mallika Sarabhai, Juzar Bandukwala, Irfan Habi, Prabhat Patnaik, Fr Frazer Mascarenhas, Rohit Prajapati, Hanif Lakdawala, Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, Teesta Setalvad.