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Jamia Nagar: A dangerous cocktail…

…of vote-bank politics, breakdown in law and order, land mafias and alienated ghettoes. Please read on…

I received this email about the Jamia Nagar encounter last weekend. It is from Shri Anant Trivedi. Sh Trivedi is an eminent and respected citizen of Delhi working mostly in areas of good governance and improving the lot of the citizens. It is important to mention that Shri Trivedi is NOT affiliated to any political party or organisation.

The email paints a bleak picture of vote-banks, breakdown in law-and-order and a fearful minority that appears helpless against increasing radicalisation. Reproduced in full below:

*** Email from Sh Trivedi ***

This area (Jamia Nagar) is very close to my colony and I have been there several times to attend functions organised by the previous MLC Asif Mohd Khan. It is a no go area for the law and order machinery, and BSES meter readers. The area is densely populated and resembles any other north UP city where there is a Muslim majority. Urdu is the only language of the region. Asif was a guest in Tihar for several months caught up in a Pota case.

I previously knew the area back in 70s and then it was totally different. My in-laws used to own most of the land we often spent time at the Bhaskar farm which is now one of the ‘posh’ residential compounds here.

At the last MLA elections I visited a school in Zakir Nagar where voter’s id cards were being made and was shocked to notice that any one could get a card made after dishing out 100 Rs. No questions asked. So a visitor from Pakistan or Bangladesh could legitimately become an Indian citizen for a mere Rs100. For once you have a voter photo card then the rest follows.

Not long ago some one engineered a fight with a police constable to stop police patrolling of the area. A small qoran was deliberately knocked off a dhela and that gave them the excuse to start a fight. The local constable got trapped into this. Soon the local Sub SHO Sharma and a few other staff also got drawn into the melee and Sharma was thrashed so badly that he is lucky to be alive today. Okhla chowki was burnt down. Shaheen Bagh chowki became a Thana with all Muslim staff and the police now keep a distance form the whole area.

While the reporters were covering the live action (on the weekend), Asif Mohd Khan was hovering in the area and people had already started concocting stories that the police had come in about 3.00 am with the 3/4 of those killed. Planted them in the flat and then came back in the morning for the fake encounter. Huge crowds gathered behind the police lines and at about midday you could already hear loud anti police noises from the crowds fuelled by fake encounter stories. If police were not there in numbers and well armed, they would have been massacred.

What we are witnessing here is the result of years of vote bank politics in which poor from all over UP, Bihar, Bangladesh have been persuaded to settle in this area with false promises of livelihood by the likes of Parvez Hashmi. Even Salman Khurshid who lives in the area close to Batla House has done nothing to stem this steady tide of people coming in with hope of a better future than in UP, only to be caught up in mounting debt and living conditions no better than what they left behind.

They also become victim to the wrong elements from the local mosques who are always there to use religion as a tool to exploit the vulnerable. Our politicians are each day raising expectations of the vulnerable unsuspecting minorities. When stories of fake encounters and police excesses start circulating, then there are plenty of buyers of such stories since the mind has already been conditioned to expect this. It is quite possible that Police too desperate to produce results will sometimes engineer such encounters. But it is most unlikely that this was fake for after all why would the police provide arms to ‘those they planted’ only to have their own colleague got killed later?

It is always tempting to generalise, but the majority of Muslims in this area are not with jihadi tendancy. They are law abiding and peaceful, and want to get ahead in life. But they find it very difficult to stand up the criminal element, which is always ready to exploit religion or muscle to suppress any resistance to their criminal intent. Right next door to my home exists a small largely Muslim colony Zakirbagh. They have a small colony prayer hall that has been hijacked by outsiders and now the residents are totally helpless and at a loss on how to rescue their small colony where thousands assemble for prayers. The prayer hall leaders are no more than 4/5 in number! The block of flats next to the prayer hall is where Gov. Kidwai’s family lives as well as Hassan Ahmad a prominent Congressman. Fearful of arousing religious sentiments, no one attempts to restrict entry of outsiders. Once prayer times were changed, and hundreds warned these hapless residents not to interfere with prayer issues ever again.

The cocktail of religion and politics is very potent and increasingly used by the politician.

Changing this situation and the mindset of the vulnerable minorities and helping them out of the rot they are in, is one of the biggest challenges for concerned citizens of India today.


Sh Trivedi’s conclusion is sobering and though-provoking…If you think he is over-estimating the challenge, pl. read these excerpts from a “first-hand” account of the encounter…and notice the extraordinary parallels…vote-bank politics, breakdown in law-and-order, political goons, land mafia…

*** Excerpts Begin ***

…The incident happened in my neigbourhood, about 150 meters from my house. So I have the opportunity to see how things are turning up. I had gone out of the area for some work while the incident was taking place around 11 am, but found it impossible to reach back home 2 hours later, because the road for about 1 and a half kilometer (on both sides) was completely blocked, not by the police vehicles, but by the parked OB vans of the countless TV channels

…Most local people are surprised at the speed with which the TV crews arrived here and in such large number. Apparently, the Delhi Police had already told a section of the press they are going for a raid in Batla House, based on the suspect Abu Bashir’s tip-off (I heard this from a anchor on Times NOW channel, although Police chief Dadwal is now denying there is any link with Abu Bashir), but they didn’t obviously say it was going to be an encounter. Its strange that the local residents got to know about the incident only after the two people had been killed – many in fact learnt it from the Aaj-tak channel. They claim they heard only the police firing and no gunshots from inside the flat, which the police claim have injured two of their constables.

…Everything looks as if planned and part of the usual business. The cops are happily allowing the media to climb any wall to get the best shot while they beat the local rickshawpullers to leave the roads clean. The message has got across loud and clear: we told you – Batla House is a haven of terrorists.

But many things sound fishy. I’ve been hearing a lot of angry conversations in the neighborhood: people are asking that if the police had only planned a simple raid (which they did 2 days ago in Zakir Nagar and Abul Fazl Enclave too), why did they have to bring battalions of police and encounter specialists with AK-56 and other deadly looking guns (that I myself saw) in advance. And why is the media called in even before the residents are told. Of course the fact the this happens in the month of Ramzan, on a Friday, and near a large mosque where people were going to gather in large numbers later for prayers, sounds just too predictable and clichéd for anyone’s imagination. Some locals claim that the police had been visiting this place (and that particular house) since last few days. Most local residents feel that this was a stage-managed encounter just like so many others that have taken place in the past. However, with the news about the death of a police inspector, this claim is less likely to be taken seriously. But still, I did not find a single local resident who is not fed up with this oft-repeated image of Jamia Nagar as harboring terrorists. But none of the channels I saw aired the public angst against their portrayal.

…most local residents believe that for Jamia to become a haven of such criminal elements, the local police and land-mafia are equally responsible. Jamia area is one of the rare localities of Delhi where the rule of law doesn’t apply in most spheres. The land mafia openly indulges in illegal construction; no rules of traffic apply here, the condition of civic amenities is abysmal. Illegal shops, factories (many with child labour) and businesses operate here actively with police connivance. The local politicians (MLA, councilors) are actually part of the problem rather than the solution. There is a full-scale illegal ISBT (bus stand) running in Batla House’s backyard to bring hundreds of migrants everyday from small towns of UP (you can see the police openly accepting bribe from its operators any day).

…The local people, frightened that the next encounter may happen in their house, simply squirm and hide in their personal ghettos.

*** End of Excerpts ***

Image of protest rally against Batla House encounter, Oct ’08 (Wikipedia)

I am now beginning to wonder whether the first step in tackling terrorism is an overhaul of the political system?

P.S. The “encounter” has raised questions of its own…but nothing is what it seems to be

Related Posts:

A tribute to Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma

Tackling Terrorism: One Step at a Time

September 25th, 2008 Posted by | Current Affairs, Debates & Discussions, Featured, LeT, SIMI etc., Politics and Governance in India, Terrorism in India | 159 comments


  1. now the remaining 30 percent of our barren lands or lands not fit for agricultural use ,and this 30 percent includes our urban cities. this sector is the ‘most terrorist prone’ in our country .in the north east we share borders with 3 military establishment with whom we share a ‘blow hot blow cold’ kind of relationship.let us also add nepal to it, and u get the picture.so nepal,bangladesh,burma and china.though we claim to have friendly relations with these nations , the fact remains that our armies remain on a high alert on all these borders too.the reason ? all these countries are poor and failed economies ,even chinese part bordering india is very poor .so sometimes even these countries create trouble on our borders , by infilterating armed ultras to drive some economic bargaining with india .now coming to the ‘big cities ‘ or our urban centres .these are the nerve centres of our economic progress .now our enemies across the border and world know that striking these urban business centres will cause more financial as well as collateral damage to the prospering indian nation .they know india is diverse with various linguistics and religions and castes .i think we must address the religious problems ,especially hindu and muslim types,before our enemies discover our soft underbelly .for this we need tough measures like reforms in religious activities .the largest minority is muslim and alienated from the mainstream . poverty adds to their woes and lack of modern education makes them cases for terrorist exploitation and brainwashing.there are hindus too in this country who feel left out of the previlaged hindu mainstream.let us here not make the mistake of branding all poor as most likely to get attracted to terrorism .there are the rich mafia bosses ,the greedy politicians,the mafia who control our mineral resources in bihar ,chattisgadh, etc,the slum mafia ,the vote bank mafia ,the forest reserves mafia who parade as naxals and maoists ,the corrupt few armymen who set fires who our arms depots,after having sold army stocks to dangerous people.the dangers this 30 percent faces are immense and all this is just the tip of the iceberg .now back to the religious reforms.i feel all places of worship ,irrespective of any religion,should come under taxation laws.the purpose should not be revenue but accountability and national responsiblity .

    Comment by tarique | November 14, 2008

  2. a tax on all religions ?? why not ?if i do do peaceful business in this country i have to file tax returns and show the sources of my income to tax scrutiny . religious places of worship get crores from unknown sources and not a single question is asked .huge mammoth mosques and temples are built in this country costing tens of crores of rupees and the donor is unknown to any government or police agency . is this a correct trend ?another worrying aspect is the land grabbing that goes on in the name of religion .the biggest worry are playgrounds and open space meant for our young children to play . i complained to a hindu friend of mine ”yaar the open space meant for kids to play in my muslim area has been grabbed by the UP mullah mafia and three illegal mosques have come up on it . how can i stop it .”i asked .he replied ” forget it buddy . just look at shivaji park and soon the temple trust will be occupying a lot more with nobody to oppose.” sorry if this comment of mine hurt anybody’s sentiments, but these are harsh truths which we r ignoring . one day it will boomerange on us all in the form of communal riots and bomb blasts.that is why the government must make the trustees of mosques and temples pay dearly for every inch they occupy.a police monitering on friday sermons and distribution of pamplets and propoganda material thoroughly inspected .even hindu religious leaders with suspicious backgrounds must be watched .a lot of u will oppose me on grounds of ‘freedom of religion’, but i think the life of innocent people is more precious than a few protesting mullahs and sadhus .religion is not a problem here , the problem is greed and religious leaders getting carried away by mass hysteria and adulation. a muslim mullah starts screaming in the mike when he gets carried away. he needs to be reminded that mike is meant to speak softly and it will automatically carry his voice in a louder tone .the government must look in these direction even if hurts a few sentiments in any religion.but the biggest terrorists are our greedy politicians .how does one reform them ?well i don’t have a clue yet ,maybe shantanu knows more on this.to conclude ,even intellectuals promote hate and terrorism by twisting history and events in a manner , that creates anger and hate . when my 8 year old daughter came back from school and told me ”i hate these hindus and i want to change my school” . i was shattered as we had not brought her up to think in that manner . when she cooled down she said the girl sitting next to her in her class told her that she belonged to a cruel muslim community that planted bombs and killed innocents , they killed animals for pleasure and that her dad would marry 3 more times .i told her to be cool and friendly and not react too much. i did not say anything much as i did not want to confuse an 8 year old.if intellectual blogs on the internet have no rationalism in them and do not promote proper understanding ,they will do more damage to society than any taliban mullah.

    Comment by tarique | November 15, 2008

  3. naxalites , maoists , ULFA, …. are they regional rebels or bandits propped up by greedy politicians and beaureaucrats to control the natural resources , forest reserves ,and mines etc .an honest scrutiny is required as it is creating poverty and social rebellion in our tribal zones where these activists are located . to conclude , i forgot an important point . the regionalisation of religions . i feel to control hate and communal riots ,the government must take strong steps and convince mosques ,temples and churches to appoint the imam ,pujari or priest from the local population . for example , if a temple is located in a thane village ,the priest must come from within a square kilometre radius and must be from one among the locals or must have resided there for atleast 20 years . same for mosques and churches and preachers .a uttar pradesh mullah must not preach in a kerala mosque .he must confine to his own village and if he cannot find work there, he must find other sources of employment.the regionalism in religions is important to understand local sentiments , and a religious leader who has lived for 20 years will be well acquainted with the locals of other religions too. this will help in ‘love and respect ‘ and better understanding ,irrespective of religion .and also the importance of promoting english medium schools ,moving along with the times.government must wake up to the reality that urdu ,tamil,kannada ,marathi medium schools have outlived their utility .gujratis of mumbai have shown the way by converting all their gujrati medium schools into english mediums,with gujrati as an optional language.others have to follow suit as false pride and false regional sentiments lead to anger among regional youths who feel left behind in the modern race .a lot of people oppose my views on this saying a lot of vernacular students have achieved a lot of success. i say ”ok fine i agree with u ,but did these successful people admit their kids to the same regional schools or opted for english medium schools ”. they agree with me that most preferred english medium schools , but still hold on to the regional views .

    Comment by tarique | November 15, 2008

  4. my views may be very far fetched and in many cases not practically possible , please do not counter it with any anger on me.and shantanu ,please edit the comments if has got too long and boring .

    Comment by tarique | November 15, 2008

  5. after the godhra riots where a large number of muslims had been killed and there was widespread anger among muslims a few ignorant muslims made comments like ”gujrat will now go the kashmir way ”i shut them down by saying ”even if a million muslims died in gujrat riots ,still gujarat will never go the kashmir way. they asked me the reason . i explained to them that the geopolitical situation of gujrat and kashmir was very different . gujrat was rich in agriculture ,had a very large coastline and heavy and small scale industries to create enough work for people . the wounds will heal one day and people would get back to daily life as in the old days . the muslims of gujrat have a lot at stake in gujrat to throw it all away for the sake of destructive terrorism . since then i feel happy i have been proved right.

    Comment by tarique | November 15, 2008

  6. gopinath munde sought a CBI probe into the alleged suicide of vishnu bhatt, an assistant commisoner of police with the ATS IN 2006 .munde alleged that bhatt was forced by some of his seniors to falsely implicate certain muslim youths in 7/11 blasts . unable to withstand the pressure , he ended his life by falling in front of a local train at dadar in september ,2006 .——times of india ,13 nov 2008. ( NOW IF GOPINATHJI IS SUCH AN HONEST MAN WHY DID HE KEEP HIS MOUTH SHUT SINCE 2006 )

    Comment by tarique | November 15, 2008

  7. @ Tarique: Thanks for your comments on tackling terrorism…

    This thread is now getting seriously unwieldy so I would request you to please post the comments on the appropriate threads (You can use the search box at the top right-hand side to find what you are looking for – or use the category drop down menu in the right hand side panel at the bottom).

    At some point today/tomorrow, I will move all your terrorism related comments (from y’day) to this thread:

    Tackling Terrorism: One Step at a Time

    Please continue follow-up comments on terrorism on the post mentioned above *not* here.

    Follow-up comments on Godhra, Malegaon etc should be posted on the appropriate threads..

    e.g. Godhra here

    and Malegaon here


    All: In the interest of a smooth reading experience, consistency and relevance, I would make the same request to all of you. Please post comments on the appropriate thread(s). It is not that difficult to find. Thanks.

    Comment by B Shantanu | November 15, 2008


    Shri Trivedi sounds a good RSS agent

    And a good “So called expert” on jamia Nagar

    Does Mr Trivedi know that JAmia Nagar is the place where India’s most educated and young Muslims reside. A young white collar job job possesed class.

    Ya i can acknowldge that there are some criminal element and land Mafia, but tell me any place in India or world where these element are not present.

    Comment by Nakshab | September 17, 2009

  9. Nakshab: Thanks for your comment…I dont think I have seen you on this blog before…so, Welcome.

    There is this sentence in the second excerpt (not from Sh Trivedi): “Jamia area is one of the rare localities of Delhi where the rule of law doesn’t apply in most spheres.”

    Do you agree with this assessment?

    *** UPDATE ***

    Comments are now closed on this thread. Pl. see my comment dt 15th Nov ’08 (above Nakshab’s comment).

    Comment by B Shantanu | September 18, 2009

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