Once battered by the repercussions of the September 13 blasts in Delhi and an encounter in their area, residents of Batla House are now united in India's fight against terror.
In a move of its kind, residents of Okhla, a Muslim-dominated area in south Delhi, are planning to form a force of young Muslim men to fight for India in situations like the recent terror attack in Mumbai.
The outfit, to be called the Muslim Deshbakht Battalion, will work closely with the police and the armed forces, said Waseem Ahmad Ghazi, an Okhla-based businessman who is also associated with the Samajwadi Party.
All 1,000 members of this outfit will be registered with the Home Ministry, said Ghazi. He, along with some local leaders, are planning to take up the matter with the ministry soon.
“These are the times when the young Muslims must come forward to prove to the world that we (Hindus and Muslims) are united for the cause of the nation. This army will fight terrorism which has brought a bad name to the community and the religion,” Ghazi said.
Ghazi was addressing a gathering of over 100 Muslims on the eve of the anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition in the Batla House area.
The meeting only addressed issues related to terrorism, its causes and consequences.
Also present at the meeting were residents of L-18 of Batla House, where two alleged militants were shot dead after the September 13 serial blasts in Delhi. Residents of this area had then widely protested against what they called was a “fake encounter”.
They had blamed the police for picking up “innocent students” for investigations into the blasts.
“We have faced the consequences of terrorism. Several boys of our area who were to join multinationals were refused jobs after the incident. Terrorism is killing our community. It is time we kill it in the root,” said Hamid Ali. The wall of his office is common with the building that housed the five alleged militants.
The imam of a mosque in the area, who started the programme by reciting verses from Quran, said it was time for introspection amongst Muslims.
There was anger amongst the youth in the community who complained of losing jobs after the Jamia encounter. “The ongoing terrorism is affecting our daily lives. We lose jobs for no faults of ours,” said Zia Faisal.