Mumbai: Over 7,000 attend rally meant to counter ‘attack on Hindus’ in Mira Road (Hindustan Times)

Over 7,000 men rallied in Mira Road wielding saffron flags as a response to recent communal clashes. The event included speeches inciting Hindu-Muslim tensions.

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Mumbai: BJP MLA from Telangana T Raja Singh during a rally, at Mira Road in Mumbai, Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024.(PTI)

By Jyoti Punwani

“This rally had to happen,” said Nikhil, an MBA student from Bhayander, who refused to give his surname. “Hindus have to show their strength after what happened in Mira Road last month.” Many around him including a Bajrang Dal member from Mira Road, Chandragupta Maurya, nodded in affirmation. The rally they said, was a counter to attacks on Hindus on January 21, the eve of the Ram temple consecration in Ayodhya.

A man named Vinod Jaiswal had to be hospitalised for stab wounds on January 21 after a bike rally wielding saffron flags entered a bylane in Mira Road and a clash broke out with Muslims who suspected the bikers were headed to the mosque at the end of the lane. A day later, Muslims in the area were targeted.

Participants in Sunday’s rally, led by Telangana BJP MLA T Raja Singh, said the arrests carried out by the Mira Road police in connection with the violence were not enough, and they wanted “more action”. Singh, who has a string of hate speech cases against him, was allowed to address the rally by the high court on condition that he would not indulge in hate speech. Addressing the audience from atop an open truck, he took care to focus on the deeds of Maharashtra’s icon Chhatrapati Shivaji in his 45-minute speech. His narration of the battles waged by Shivaji though was peppered with mentions of “landya” (circumcised) and “mulla”, every mention being greeted with wild roars of applause.

“Shivaji’s mother taught him the skills of war. But what do we teach our children? To become engineers and doctors,” said Singh. He ended his speech by making the audience hold up the torchlights of their phones and vow to work for a Hindu rashtra, and fight against “love jehad”, conversion and cow slaughter. He also urged chief minister Eknath Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to “liberate” Shivaji’s forts from the mosques he claimed were built there illegally.

This story was originally published in Read the full story here .


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