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Harassment of Kanwariyas continues: After hurling contaminated water, Muslim villagers in Bareilly block Kanwar Yatra

While the Muslim villagers in Dunka have threatened to block the Kanwar Yatra procession from passing through the village, the Kanwariyas have been insistent on following the same route.

Days after Uttar Pradesh Police arrested 6 people, including Gram Pradhan Shakina from Paragwa, Bareilly for throwing contaminated water and pelting stones at the Kanwariyas, local Muslims residing in the Dunka village in the Shergarh Block in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly District have stopped Kanwariyas from entering the area.

Dunka is reportedly a Muslim-dominated village. However, the Kanwariyas have travelled along this neighbourhood’s Dunki road for a number of years since it is the shortest route to reach Haridwar via Chakrod Village, which is situated in the Kalapipal Tehsil of the Shajapur District in Madhya Pradesh. Reportedly, every year, thousands of Kanwariya have followed this particular route to reach Haridwar during the auspicious month of ‘Sawan’ (Shravan), to fetch the holy water of the river Ganga and offer it to God Shiva at temples back home. 

A report by Live Hindustan, however, read that the Dunka Muslims have this year, opposed the idea of the Kanwar Yatra procession passing through the aforementioned route. Instead, they have insisted that the Kanwariyas go to Haridwar by another route, which is said to be much longer than this route.

While the Muslim villagers in Dunka have been creating a ruckus and threatened to block the Kanwar Yatra procession from passing through the village, the Kanwariyas have reportedly been insistent on following the same route to reach Haridwar. Reportedly, on Thursday, the Kanwariyas reached the Muslim settlement of Dunka with a DJ affixed on a tractor-trolley. They insisted on passing through a Muslim locality.

When the SDM and Circle Officer RK Mishra received the information, they hurried to the area to prevent any untoward incidents. The officials explained to the Kanwariyas to go through the route, reportedly the longer one, fixed by the administration.

According to the police, after a clash broke out between members of the two communities in 2014 over the Kanwar Yatra route, the administration had assigned the Kanwariyas a particular path that did not entail traversing the Dunki road. The police asked the Kanwariyas to abide by the decision taken at that time and walk the designated path. The pilgrims responded by saying that the agreement had been reached between the Dunka residents and that the Dunki people were not a part of it.

The Kanwariyas further warned the police that they would keep waiting on the Dunki road and would not proceed with the procession if they were made to travel the longer route. The police, meanwhile, deployed barricades along the route and deployed police contingents to prevent further escalation.

Speaking about the issue, SDM Ved Prakash Mishra said that the kanwariyas of Dunki are adamant about passing through the Muslim neighbourhood of Dunka. Four days ago, the police had tried to convince the Kanwariyas, but they did not pay heed. In fact, on Thursday, they reached Dunka village and insisted to go through the Muslim settlement. In the event that the kanwariyas persist in passing through Dunka village, the police will take severe measures. If they, in case, change their mind and take the prescribed route, the police will give them full security, said Mishra.

Notably, in most cases, the Kanwariyas trek the entire route barefoot, without even eating or drinking anything. In such a case, when there is a shorter way available, forcing them to take the longer route is torturous.

However, attacks and harassment on Kanwariyas are something which is not new. Like every year, this year too there have been multiple instances where the Yatra has faced hateful attacks.

Hateful attacks on Kanwariyas

On July 30, OpIndia reported how villagers led by the Gram Pradhan Shakina and her father-in-law Ishtiaq threw contaminated water on the Kanwariyas while they were passing through the village. The villagers also pelted stones at the pilgrims.

On July 25, a group of Muslim women stopped Kanwariyas from entering Ibrahimpur in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad district. They put up cot beds on the road and demanded that the pilgrims should return and follow the prescribed route.

Another incident happened in Meerut on July 22, where Islamists spat on Kanwariyas. Following the incident, Kanwariyas jammed the road and demanded action by the Police. Reports suggest that the pilgrims were sitting on the side of the road to rest for a while. Two people came on a bike and tried to spit on them. After that, one of them got off the bike and spat on the Kanwariyas.

On July 19, someone threw a piece of meat on Kanwar Yatra in Seelampur, Delhi. The incident occurred in the evening, following which the pilgrims doing Kanwar Yatra jammed the roads for an hour. While these Kanwars, who had walked for over seven days to reach Delhi, were welcomed with flowers at other locations, in Delhi, they had to face people throwing meat at them.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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