A sense of unease prevailed in Bisada village, around 50km from Delhi, on Thursday as villagers refused to cremate the body of lynching suspect Ravin alias Robin.
The Muslim families living in the village, however, said there was no ‘communal’ discord, as a huge police force kept guard to prevent any untoward incidents.
“Our neighbours have a tussle with the government. They will not harm us. It has been a year since (Mohd) Ikhlaq died and nobody has intimidated us over our religion,” said Bano Begum, 54, who lives near the mosque.
The police said there was no communal tension and two companies of provincial armed constabulary, 200 constables and over 50 police officers have been deployed in the village as a preventive measure. Around one-fourth of the force, an officer said, had been deployed near the mosque and areas where Muslims lived.
“The force has been deployed as a precautionary measure. No untoward incident has been reported. People are protesting, but peacefully,” said Abhishek Yadav, superintendent of police (rural), Gautam Budh Nagar.
Bisada village, about 50 km from Delhi, has a population of over 10,000 people. Most of the residents are Hindu Rajputs. Only 50 Muslim families live in the village.
“This is our home. We trust our neighbours. Whatever happened last year was unfortunate. There is no threat to us here. The atmosphere is tense as expected. A young man has died without trial. But none of our Hindu neighbours have caused any trouble for us,” said a resident requesting anonymity.
There are more than half a dozen barber shops in the village, mostly owned by Muslims. One such barber, who lives near the mosque, said he felt uncomfortable only when saffron leaders visited the village and delivered hate speeches against Muslims.
“We don’t think about communal tension until we hear a saffron leader spewing venom against Muslims. We think there won’t be any problems if leaders avoid making such statements,” he said.
He said the Muslim community of the village discusses about the threats of such leaders behind closed doors. However, they know that a majority of villagers refrain from attending such speeches.