Behrampada & Its Residents: Liyaqat & Qureshi
Director: Madhusree Dutta
Duration: 00:21:57; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 25.744; Saturation: 0.140; Lightness: 0.284; Volume: 0.169; Cuts per Minute: 0.046; Words per Minute: 163.179
Summary: This is an interview from the rushes of the ‘I live in Behrampada’, a documentary on a Mulim ghetto in the context of the Bombay riots, an aftermath of the Babari Masjid demolition. I was 8 years old during the Bombay ’92-93 riots. My only memory of the time was an unscheduled two-month holiday from school, though the adult talk about stray dead bodies and destruction remains stored in some corner. Later various other incidents of violent identity politics and representations of the Bombay riots in films etc. made a constant a reference point. Going through the rushes after 15 years has also been a process of coming to terms with my own city and its black holes.
The riots of ’92-93 divided the famed cosmopolitan city of Bombay on communal lines and the neighbourhood of Behrampada bore the brunt of this division. The film explored social biases, which under emergency can create mayhem. In this search, the film interviewed people from different classes and religions – namely, Hindu building residences, and Muslim slum dwellers; authorized buildings and unauthorized or under-dispute settlements. What is apparent in the interviews is the different perspectives on each event, accusation of the ‘other’ community and the feeling of being wronged and rejected. However, reading/seeing the whole rushes makes it clear that it was a manifestation of old politics of majoritarianism. It is recommended to visit the other interviews under the same category in this site in order to understand the whole picture.
Omar Qureshi was a kind of village elder in Behrampada. He was also an active Congress member. With the control of some co-operative bank and ration shop in his hand he was not beyond a fair share of controversy and name-calling. Throughout the riots he was very active in various peace initiatives and had been liaison with the civil society outside Behrampada. It was said that his opposite fraction within the Congress had won the previous municipality election in Behrampada and so he was trying to gain some clout by leading the community during this crisis. What was evident at that time was Omar Qureshi’s excellent oratorical skill and high respect that he commanded from the residents of Behrampada.
Liyaqat Ali was a service man and a lieutenant to Omar Qureshi. At that time he appeared to have political aspiration. But later he shifted more towards community social work. He came across as a reasonable man of logic, evidences and non-rhetorical. In that charged time of sectarian politics and identity rhetoric, Liyaqat’s calm demeanor was very reassuring.
(M): Omar bhai, What is this place where the shooting is happening, please tell us.
(OQ): This place is called Collector's lane. It is a ration shop, where the shooting is taking place right now, is a ration shop. What we call a Government store.
(M): What is your relation with this place?
(OQ): This shop is in the name of Madani consumers co-operative and I am the secretary.
(M): I know that you have also been involved in politics earlier, but other than that also being an older citizen of this place, I have seen that people respect you a lot here, so in that aspect, please tell us what you think about all that is happening here. Since the film is running, we don't have much time - so in short please.
Interview with Omar Qureshi and Liyaqat at the ration shop in the bazaar. The sacks of grains are visible at the back. Our cameraman was happy to find a proper backdrop to the interview.
Anant Kanekar Marg
Omar Qureshi explained the development of the communal politics since the demolition of Babri Masjid demolition on 6th December 1992. He attributes that whole thing to the electoral politics of the state and the country. Minority Muslim community has been traditionally voters of the Congress. Though the Bandra east area, where Behrampada was situated, had strong Shivsena base (infact the Shivsena supremo Bal Thackrey lives in this area) the Congress retained the parliament seat due to the support from this Muslim majority slums, including Behrampada. The electoral politics of India is always related to the space politics. In a slum reside much more voters than in any middle class settlement occupying the same area of land. Hence the party which enjoys the support of the slum dwellers wins the election. Over the years in Indian democracy the slum dwellers have learnt to use this phenomena in order to gain some political leverage. But in the present case it has boomeranged on the Behrampada residents. Though the country was ruled by the Congress at the centre and in the state, the general political atmosphere went against them since the demolition. The Hindu right wing activists took that opportunity to get rid of the slum which always voted against them. This agenda coincided with the agenda of the real estate for whom the slum in the prime space of the city was a sheer waste of possibility.
(OQ): What do you want me to speak about, the riots that are happening?
(M): Yes the riots. There was one in Decemeber and another in January and here there has been another one even in February! Various different things, please tell us your experience and your analysis.
(OQ): See, the riots start in Ayodhya, whatever happened there XYZ, it was in the nature of the Muslims to be hurt or angry at the mosque demolition and make impulsive actions. When this started, not only in Bombay but all over the country and here, since we live here, we will talk to you about this place today. The population of our gaon (village, Behram) is 40-50,000, this village is called, Behramnagar or Behrampada. In which 20-25% people are also non- Muslims. In which 5-6% people are also Maharashtrains. When the riots started here, this is a poor slum area, our community is mainly in the minority, and that's why we are mainly for the Congress party. Congress has its own lobby here, its monopoly that don't allow us to come out of the poverty so that we remain dependant on them? The riots started but they didn't give us any special help, we tried a lot, we even phoned Delhi that we are in so much trouble, we are being treated in such a way. But it didn't affect them one bit. By then, V.P Singh (former prime minister and retired politician) came, who has relations with Janata Dal, thinking that 'This was a good time', 'let's get them under us, 'Give them dal – roti' 'Oh you were burnt, they did this and that to you, please take some grains from us, what can we do for you'? 'Maybe they will remember this by next election and they will vote for us'.
6th december 1992
babri masjid demolition
v p singh
After the broader picture Omar Qureshi came down to the local politics. Local right wing party Shivsena (which is essentially a Maharashtrian party) spearheaded the post Babri masjid demolition violence against the Muslims. Since Bombay was their head quarters and Bandra east is seat of contention for them, the attack on Behrampada was more focused and sustained. In the city of Bombay the riots happened in two phases in December '92 and January '93. But in Behrampada it continued till the month of February '93. The last straw was of burning 53 huts in Behrampada in the dead of night on 2nd February. The mostly one storey Behrampada was surrounded by high rise apartments. The high rises were mainly occupied by middle class and lower middle class Hindus, whether supporters of Shivsena or not. The Shivsena cadres often used the advantage of height and attacked the low rise slum from the terraces of the high rise buildings. The politician Omar Qureshi, though correctly explaining the power structure which led to the violence, also did not forget to mouth rhetoric of peace initiative.
(OQ): The third, the smartest, most cunning one is the Shivsainik (cadres of Shivsena party). During any election, they never get a single vote from us. There are 14-16,000 voters here, not a single vote of which goes to them. What does he think, the Shivsainik? 'That they don't give us any votes, so why should they continue to populate this area'? They think this way because this constituency Kherwadi is known to be a Congress Constituency - because they (Hindu) are 60% and we (Muslim) are 40%. Now from this 40%, the Muslim minorities prefer giving their votes to Congress. So this was a great opportunity for Shivsena that let's harass and trouble them so much that they run away from here. And they took complete advantage of the situation and tried in every way to put us down. Even though there is no such connecting space between them and us from where they can come and directly attack us - but the MIG (middle income group) buildings and all are here which fall on the East side of this colony. They used the Vivek building, they climbed up the buildings and did bombings from there and on 2nd of February, 53 of our houses were burnt down to ashes. This is how they have been troubling us. From 6th December till today, 9th January (it was a mistake, he meant 9th February) this has been happening. Yesterday was 8th January (February) and our kids couldn't go to school. We have Keku Gandhyji and Jamkhetkar Sahab, such Maharashtrian people, they took us and Liyaqat Sahab to MIG colony…
(M): Omarji we have interviewed Keku Gandhy and them already and they have told us about this.
(OQ): Yes what I was trying to say is that they took us into the MIG and all the fear and hatred they had and we had against each other, got wiped out. From today our kids have started going to school when they wouldn't go to school for two months, two and a half months straight, when they had to sit at home,
hindu right wing
lower middle class
middle income group
M: I wanted to ask one thing - since we went that side today also… this argument of "this side" and "that side". Those people are saying that, and they have said this today itself, that we don't have any enmity with the people of Behrampada and we never did. This is works of two fractions of Congress. Since this is what they are saying, they will say this in the Press also, so please tell us what you think about this.
OQ: See, Congress…the problem really is between the Congress and Shivsena. Whatever we may go through, how much ever we may be troubled, it has been stamped upon us that we would always be known as Congress. So they are taking undue advantage of this, they know that whatever happens we are Congress -so why not use it. I spoke about this earlier also, 'lets trouble them so much that they run away and this seat that always goes to Congress would go to Shivsena'. This is their take, this is how they think and what they do, that is why we were arrested. They are right, we don't have much of a relationship with them, nothing much at all.
M: No, what they were saying is that there are two groups among the Congress that are having problems among each other and that's the reason for all these problems.
OQ: No, that is not so, though they want to say so. Often people ask for tickets (candidature in election) and they don't get it so they stand independently. Others call that two parties but that is not true. Under such circumstances, older senior people come and one of them withdraws (candidature), but this thinking of theirs is wrong.
There had been allegation that fractionalism within the Congress party had aggravated the political situation and induced fuel to the Shivsena led violence. Omar Qureshi denied that allegation. He claimed that internal power struggle over nomination for electoral seat in the Congress could not aggravate to that level. But the distrust and total absence of communication between the building residents and the slum dwellers are clear. The segregation is due to a compound factor of class differences, religious identity and also political allegiance.
M: So there is no particular tension among the Congress or among the Congress people in Behram?
OQ: No there is tension in Congress as they want to rule over only by making promises. And for us minorities, they prefer it if we continue living in such slums, in acute poverty. If we moved up in life then all problems in our lives would be over. That's why congress wants us to languish here, stay right here.
M: This area is a hotbed for the Congress.
OQ: A very big hotbed.
M: And in this state, Congress is in the centre, still you have not been protected, so what do you have to say to that?
OQ: We were not protected, during the time when too many problems were taking place here, they failed then very badly. We know that and the residents of Bombay know that too. Because we were in majority here (in Behrampada), a lot of us (Muslims) live here, that's why were saved to an extent. Otherwise, the Muslims in joint plots (he meant in areas which are not Muslim majority) in other areas, had to pack up and leave. Their homes were looted and taken over. Even today they are in shelters here and there, outside. They can't return to their homes even today.
Omar Qureshi explains the functioning of the centrist party, Congress, with his trade mark wit and astute political sense. The centrist politics prompts Congress to preserve a large base of marginalized people. They maintain that status quo by providing short term aid and sporadic benefits to its constituents. But never takes any sustainable development initiative. According to Qureshi the minority people were comparatively secured in a ghetto than in a cosmopolitan neighbourhood. We can try to alter this argument to say that the so called cosmopolitan neighbourhoods are actually ghettos of majority people. In peace time it did not matter. But during riots the biases of the majority community prevailed in those areas.
M: What do you have to say about the role of the police?
OQ: In the beginning, the police were very one-sided. The biggest proof to that is that 16 of our people have been killed by bullets and that too in our own grounds. Its not like they (the Behrampada residents) left our grounds to participate in violence and went to some other place or that they were on some other colony, nothing like that. Bombs would be thrown from top, our kids would go to diffuse the fire and they would get killed in the firings. 16 are now martyred, dead and at least 38-40 people have been injured by bullets.
M: Firing was private or police?
OQ: Police firing…police firing. Let me tell you one thing though that is good. Ever since Y.C. Pawar Sahab has come here, Kalputra D.C.P sahab, Y.C Pawar Sahab… D.C.P Sahab, we started believing in the police once again. Otherwise we had started fighting with the police, we didn't have any belief. Our people were being killed, they were even being locked up and even the innocent people who were taken in were beaten up so badly that their limbs were fractured, heads broken, hands and legs broken. But ever since our Samrajji, Y.C Pawar, the Deputy of Police, have come here we started believing in the police again. Our failing faith came back up and ever since our Sarpotdar (the local Shivsena MLA) has gone for his vacation, we are living in a lot of peace.
Riots are always a law and order issue. If the Govt. had any political will then riot wouldn't have happened. General intolerance, religious or racial, on the part of the ordinary citizens or even the agenda of any fanatic outfit can never culminates to sustained and collective violence without some kind of endorsement from the state. The case of Behrampada was no exception. At the beginning of the riots the administration and the police played a severe partisan line. The deputy police commissioner R. D. Tyagi himself had been implicated later for rioting and killing twelve Muslim workers in the Suleiman Bakery. (for more detail see Shrikrishna commission Report – www.hvk.org/specialrepo/skc/skcch1.html
). Later the chief minister of the state was changed and some top officers in the police too were transferred as a face saving exercise. The Shivsena MLA (member of legislative assembly) from Bandra east Madhukar Sarpotdar was arrested by the army for carrying fire arms during the period of the riots. The officer in-charge of Nirmal Nagar police station, Behrampada falls under its jurisdiction, Madhukar Zende was later transferred under allegation of communal biases.
deputy police commissioner. shrikrishna commission report
inspector madhukar zende
law and order
member of legislative assembly
nirmal nagar police station
r d tyagi
y c pawar
Behrampada was attacked even after the violence everywhere else in the city had abated. According to Omar Qureshi, Shivsena waited for the opportunity to gather its surplus personnel from all over the city and form a large enough group to attack Behrampada. Somehow this logic did not seem adequate. The attack on Behrampada was also followed by intense maligning campaign in the media. Though the media was broadly critical of Shivsena, it termed Behrampada as a den of terrorists and to a great extend supported the demand of demolishing the slum for the safety of the other citizens. So there had to be a larger map to it. The stake of the real estate should not be ignored. During that time the Bandra Kurla complex (BKC), the mid-town business district, was being built very close to Behrampada. Bombay was also being flaunted to be the next Asian hub for multi-national corporations. So the prime land of Behrampada, used for only housing the poor people, became the centre of attention. Later in the decade the city went through another phase of destructive development. The vast land of the closed textile industry was released for the real estate. Hence the pressure on the land of Behrampada temporarily reduced.
M: Tell me one thing, the nature of attacks on Behram is different from that of other areas. For example, towards Kherwadi or the highway, Muslims have lost their property but not so much their lives, this side, there was not much loss of property, was there?
OQ: No no, except for 2nd of February, they first threw a 150-200 petrol packets and then a bomb and then everything got burnt.
M: That was the first.
OQ: The latest thing that happened. Yes.
M: And it even so happens that when the entire Bombay was burning nothing happened in Behrampada then! And when everything becomes fine in all of Bombay then Behrampada burns. What do you feel, why does this happen?
OQ: This is because on such a huge population no one can attack alone. First they divided themselves and were attacking everywhere and when everything calmed down everywhere else, they all got together to attack Behrampada. Finally they attacked Behrampada, together.
Bandra Kurla complex
bandra kurla complex
closed textile industry
M: But is there anything else in Behrampada other than Hindu- Muslim?
OQ: No, you will see, I have told you this before that 5% here are Maharashtrains, our Shalini tai is sitting here next to us, she herself has been living here for 22 years and there are so many Hindu temples here, churches, 300-400 houses are of our Christian brothers. Maharaj people, who supply flowers for Gods to all of Bombay, these 2-3 months of riots, we are all together and everything is fine between us and we live like brothers and sisters. No one has any complaints and neither can the police say anything that these people have had any problems.
Omar Qureshi tried to paint a romantic secular picture of the slum. In a hegemonic society it is always the 'other' who need to prove the allegiance. Immigrants in Europe need to prove their will to integrate, Asians in America need to prove their non-terrorist background, women at work need to prove their non-feminine efficiency and Muslims in India need to prove their secular credential and patriotism. Even when systematically attacked by Hindu fanatics he had to mouth brotherhood rhetoric in public. But the safety of the Hindus in Behrampada was a reality due to another factor. A report of even a small incident of any person belonging to the majority community being targeted in the minority ghetto could isolate them completely and incited the mob to a severe scale. One such incident in Radhabai Chawl in Jogeshwari had been cited as the reason for much of the violence that took place in 1992-93. The Muslim leaders in Behrampada must have taken immense care to protect the Hindus from the fury of the ordinary dwellers.
M: Liyaqat ji, there are two things that the people here strongly speak about, as evidences. A fire ring range has been made, over the toilets, there is a place that has been made where one can fire from.
L: See, you had gone to Vivek building and Jasmine building, I mean, Gulmohar building. Over there too they had said that we have made a military-type attacking system. There is no such thing. In actuality, when there is a fire or to stop fire, we have powder that we need to use.
M: What powder is this?
L: It is only powder. Ordinary powder that is used, it's that powder, packets of powder were kept there inside the toilet. The toilet is no longer used so the packets were just lying there, the toilet is unusable, and you can go there and check. These things have been there from before the riots, now it is coming in our use. Whenever there is fire we use it to diffuse the fire. And this accusation on us, we have clearly explained this to them. You take a look at it, it is for our defense. If bullets are being fired from that side and we had guns also, we too could have demonstrated our ammunitions. When we have no such thing then what will we use to put up our fight?
The question was asked in the context of an allegation from the Hindu apartment buildings in the neighbourhood of Behrampada – that the slum residents had mounted a firing range in the slum. It was part of the scare campaign.
It is the walled city logic. Behrampada is surrounded by the gentrified buildings. Buildings were high rise while the slum was low rise. Some huts, even a Hindu temple along the border line of the buildings were bombed and burned. Whereas on the otherside where the slum overlooks a road and vacant marsh land was never attacked. Strangely in such cases of communal violence often the ordinary people who belong to the majority community say 'Why does violence happen only in minority areas? Obviously because the minorities do it'. It is a strange logic? It is like why war happens in Iraq and not in America?
L: So this blame that is being put on us is that all this is happening from here (Behrampada). We don't usually say anything against all this but we even explained our utilization of that place (the toilet) and what not. Secondly, this is the continuous attack on us. That spot of ours and the spot by building no. 30; they (Hindu side) continuously attack from there to that spot. There is evidence to prove it. There has been no attack on Anant Kanekar Road; not a single hut on Anant Kanekar Marg was burnt. Why is that place being attacked? From there - building no 30 is close by, MIG is close by; which they make complete use of and attack from there. If we have attacked there, then what loss have we caused them? Has anyone been hurt, or any buildings been damaged or the loss of anyone's life? What loss? Whatever loss has happened has been with our people, in our boundaries, our houses have been burnt. In spite of that, the blame has been put on us that we cause the fires. However small and broken our homes maybe, do they think that it is our hobby to burn our own homes and watch the show?
(M): According to them (Hindu side), nothing happens in Anant Kanekar Marg because they have stopped using that road completely.
(L): No, that is completely wrong. You will see for yourself, and morning and evening office goers are using that road, there is no such thing. Such rumors have only been started by the Shivsena people and they believe that they can use this to pull Behrampada further down. Just like they used the temple issue to take Behram's name down, they are using this issue to pull us further down, so that they can benefit from it.
anant kanekar marg
building no. 30
loss of life
lower income group colony
middle income group colony
At the outskirt of Behrampada was a small roadside shrine of Saibaba. After the Babri masjid demolition on 6th December the deity of the temple was found beheaded. The Shivsena cadres picked up the issue and claimed that it was misdeed by the Behrampada Muslims in order to avenge the masjid demolition. That, in a way, was the beginning of the Bombay riots. The Shivsena cadres took charge of the shrine and changed the deity to a Ganesh idol. Ganesh is a traditional Maharashtrian god of commerce and success whereas Saibaba is a mortal saint and that too famous for his secular teaching. The change of deity proved to be economically beneficial for the stake holders. Today the temple stands in a large compound in front of the Bandra courts and earns huge revenues from the aspirants who visit the courts. Nobody was ever arrested on that case. But the incident produced a prolonged campaign against Behrampada, almost initiated Bombay riots and eventually created a profitable religious centre for its caretakers.
(M): What is the temple issue?
(L): The temple issue is that when there was a Saibaba temple….
(M): Till when did that temple stand?
(L): Till the 6th of December, till 6th of December there was a Saibaba temple. The slum area was known as Sai Kripa and the South Indians of that area had made that temple, (when) there were no Shivsainiks there. The Shivsainiks captured that place and converted it into a Ganesh temple.
(L): On the 6th whatever attack or incident happened there, the entire blame was pushed upon the Muslims that - oh they broke our temple, damaged everything. When there was no such thing! Only Saibaba's head had been taken off, covered with a cloth and placed on the side. A lot of people confirmed that 4 men came in one ambassador car and did this. However, after that, they attacked Behrampada in saying that we did this! If 4 people come together to break something, then it breaks completely, they won't only take the head off and put it on the side. After this happened they made it into a big issue and gave it too much importance and nothing happened there for many days….because they wanted to make an issue and with that issue they created a lot of noise. They even said that we will go to the Chief Minister, we will go here… there…Without any Police permission they started this procession. That day, we faced a lot of danger…the day they were turning it into a Ganesh temple. After that, when they occupied this entire area and started giving speeches etc. here they were saying that - this is not Behrampada but Rampada.
(M): When did this happen?
(OQ): 18th January.
(L): 18th January maybe.
babari masjid demolition
While the insignificant roadside shrine of Saibaba was being converted to a marble temple of Ganesh, Shivsena started another aggressive campaign. Muslims in Behrampada, like in many other poor slums, do their Friday afternoon prayer on the footpath. Islam in India is poor man's religion. Often the masjids are too small to accommodate all the devotees. So for the main prayer of the week they spill over to the road. In December 1992 Shivsena launched a vicious campaign against this practice. In order to get the state around they started organizing mass scale puja on the road by blocking the traffic for hours. Since Hinduism is a collection of various practices and beliefs it is very easy to improvise any custom within that. The Shivsena termed the programme Maha-aarti (grand worshipping) and implemented it all over the city during the rush hour. One such post was the Saibaba/Ganesh temple at the outskirt of Behrampada.
(M): What was it (the procession)?
(L): The Maha- Aarti program. They (Shivsainiks) fixed it, I mean, they set up the Ganesh temple.
(M): You mean, the Sai Baba temple…
(L): Yes, Sai Baba temple was removed and converted into the Ganesh temple there.
(M): The Ganesh temple board (sign) that has been put up there, when was that put up?
(L): That… not 18th January but before that.
(OQ): 27th (December), on a Sunday.
(L): Yes the 27th.
(M): The board…
(L): The board and the idol were made together. December. Both.
(M): Before that it was a Saibaba temple.
(L): Yes, before that it was a Saibaba temple.
(M): Why was such a conversion needed? Saibaba to Ganesh? I mean I'm asking you, what does that mean?
(L): This means that, Shivsena when and where they want…because you see , most of the stalls that you will find there are theirs. All the stalls are theirs and not a single stall belongs to any of our men. The area that comes under them, they use violence etc. to put so much fear into the people and they legally or illegally, capture the stalls. In 1984, when the first corporation election was fought, Shivsena's Shrikant Samalkar was there. At that time, there was a Colgate ground inside the Housing board, there was not a single shop inside that area. But as soon as their Corporator (elected member of the municipality) Shrikant Samalkar won, they started setting up shops in there, illegally, slowly slowly. They have everything planned. They make papers, they know what they need to do and the make stalls and give it to their own men. If you go there today, you will see 100-150 stalls there.
misuse of power
One side border of Behrampada lies along the Railway track. It was a disputed land and a court case between Behrampada and the Railways had been pending for a very long time.
Photo pass: is a identity document with passport size photo issued by the govt.
The issue of citizenship gets complex here. The campaign agendas were:
a) Behrampada was a ghetto and they were a security threat to the neighbourhood. Nobody could enter the labyrinth of the slum and so no law and order could prevail.
b) There were very large number of Muslims and they pray on the road
c) The slum was on disputed land.
d) The ugly slum would have to be demolished for the development of the area.
The points were distinctly different, yet feeding into each.
(M): Omar bhai, they say with a lot of confidence that Behrampada must go from here because the Railway needs to develop here; a shopping complex needs to come up. Being a responsible citizen of this area, how do you plan to deal with this pressure?
(OQ): Our case against the railway is being fought and there has been no such decision passed by the Government that we will have to leave.
(M): But, you need to think a little further also right?
(OQ): We are ready to cooperate with the Government. The issue is regarding a road. They want a road that approaches the Terminus. We have already spoken to them in a suggestion-objection, to the BMRDA(Bombay Metropolitan Road Development Authority), that if they want a road, they can take it in a proper manner. Whoever lives there, give them an alternative, shift them, there is no problem. They can take it.
(M): Ok so you have no problem in their making a road.
(OQ): Yes we have no problem, we have said that even in the court. They have not shown any ownership proof in the court that this is Railway property. There is nothing till now.
(M): Everyone thinks that this is an illegal settlement, there are no legal rights to it. It will have to go, today or tomorrow.
(OQ): No, see…people say these things. 6 months ago we were issued photo passes. We have our case. We also get photo passes. We made the payment ourselves, it was not in our name. And we got it 2 months before the riots. The government took Rs. 20,000 from us and issued photo passes, they took rent from '85 and from everyone around here they have taken rent. But the Railway says that this is our land, Then why did you give us photo passes? The land is the Collector's. They keep throwing the words "Railway's Land, Railways land" but it is not so, it is the collector's land.
mumbai metropolitan road development authority
passport size photo
Omar Qureshi avoided talking about the strategies that they had evolved in order to maintain communal peace inside the slum. But he mentioned another important point. Nobody ever riots in one's own neighbourhood. That is why in riot narratives we always hear that 'People from outside had come to attack'. Only that we forget that every outsider is also an insider somewhere else. Stated differently: for every outsider who attacks our neighbourhood, an insider goes out to attack another neighbourhood.
(M): Ok, I'll ask you a different question now. When the riots were happening in the country, the issue was of Hindu- Muslims, so in Behrampada, how did you make the minorities feel secure?
(OQ): What are you asking about?
(M): The Minorities here, the Hindus of Behrampada, how did you make them feel safe?
(OQ): Actually, we were so close to each other that we had no idea of 'Hindu- Muslim' among us. We are all Indians here, we didn't look at people as Hindu or Muslim. If we had a function they would come here, if they had a celebration we would go and celebrate with them. We were so close to each other that there was no difference between us even during the riots, we didn't think that - oh the person in front of me is Hindu or he is Muslim.
(M): The truth is that it is such around the entire country. In the entire country, Hindus and Muslims live together, but riots is such a thing which can divide even one's own beloved brother. So there must be some hot-headed boys here who got angry, whose sons died or whose husbands died, they would definitely feel angry. To handle such people, there is a certain amount of strategy required, so please tell us so that other people can also use it.
(OQ): See, we don't say that everyone is good, we know that there are a few bad people also. Now for example. I am a bad person, but I will still have certain values that if I do bad it will be outside my village, not inside. So if there are such examples here, then they do it outside. They will think that because of me there should not be any harm caused in my home, in my village, in my family, so they will do it outside.