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Religious Clashes and Attacks Lead to Muslim Exodus from Indian Business Hub

More than 3,000 poor Muslims have left a business hub near New Delhi this month, driven by safety concerns amidst Hindu-Muslim clashes and targeted attacks.

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GURUGRAM, India, Aug 10 (The Street Press) – More than 3,000 impoverished Muslims have left a business hub near New Delhi this month, driven by concerns for their safety following clashes between Hindus and Muslims, along with intermittent attacks directed at them, according to local residents, law enforcement, and a community organization.

Shops, shacks, and homes owned or operated by Muslims in two extensive slum regions were found padlocked during a Reuters visit, more than a week after seven individuals lost their lives in confrontations within the Nuh and Gurugram districts of Haryana state, which is adjacent to the Indian capital.

Commencing on July 31st, the turmoil erupted subsequent to a Hindu religious procession, orchestrated by factions sharing ideological affinities with the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), being singled out, resulting in a retaliatory mosque assault. Law enforcement managed to suppress the disturbances within a span of 48 hours.

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Despite this, sporadic assaults directed at Muslims persisted over the course of several days, instilling fear among families who had migrated to Gurugram, the burgeoning urban hub where 250 of the Fortune 500 corporations have established offices, all in pursuit of economic opportunities.

Incidents of stone-throwing, arson, and the desecration of two modest Muslim shrines within the slum neighborhoods compelled numerous Muslim households to vacate their single-room dwellings. Witnesses recounted that these families sought refuge at a train station before eventually departing the area.

“Many of us spent the entire night on a railway platform because it was much safer there,” recounted Raufullah Javed, a tailor who fled to his hometown in the eastern state of Bihar. He shared these details with Reuters over the phone.

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Mufti Mohammed Salim, the local head of Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind (Council of Indian Muslim Theologians) in Gurugram, provided an estimate that the number of departing Muslims from the district had exceeded 3,000 in the aftermath of the violence.

Four Muslim shopkeepers, who had also fled to their eastern Indian villages, shared via phone that members of radical Hindu factions had interrogated them about their businesses and families.

Shahid Sheikh, a barber who fled from Tigra village, home to more than 1,200 Muslim families, recounted, “Some Hindu men came in a large group and started asking questions such as how much money I earn.”

“Many Muslims decided it’s best to leave for a while,” Sheikh remarked, noting that certain Hindu shop proprietors who had rented spaces to Muslims expressed a desire for them to evacuate.

Frictions between India’s predominant Hindu population and its minority Muslim community have escalated due to matters like beef consumption and interfaith marriages. Muslims have reported a surge in targeting by Hindu activists, a trend they attribute to the ascent of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP administration since 2014.

BJP leaders assert that clashes between these two communities have erupted previously, although such incidents have become less frequent since their assumption of power.

The turmoil within Gurugram, a metropolis inhabited by more than 1.5 million people and previously referred to as Gurgaon, has laid bare potential vulnerabilities to violence and disruption for multinational corporations situated there, including Google, American Express, Dell, Samsung, Ernst & Young, and Deloitte.

Haryana police reported the apprehension of over 200 individuals from both groups in connection with the unrest. Moreover, a portion of the Muslim populace that had fled the region has gradually started returning.

Anil Vij, the Minister of Home Affairs in Haryana’s BJP administration, indicated that while he received reports of some Muslims leaving, he assured that the situation is now entirely under control.

“No one is asking them to leave and we are providing full security in all communally sensitive areas,” he told Reuters.

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Sk Sahiluddin
Sk Sahiluddinhttps://www.thestreetpress.com
Sk Sahiluddin is a seasoned journalist and media professional with a passion for delivering accurate and impactful news coverage to a global audience. As the Editor of The Street Press, he plays a pivotal role in shaping the editorial direction and ensuring the highest journalistic standards are upheld.
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