Ajmer: Hate speech has become quite routine for ‘fringe’ groups in Rajasthan. In the latest incident of hate speech, Shiv Sena Hindustan, a religious-turned-political outfit active in the state, targeted the famous Ajmer shrine and Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti with derogatory remarks, leading to tension in the city. The khadims (custodians) of Dargah Ajmer Sharif filed a complaint against the organisation on December 22 and demanded an immediate ban on the group.
The trigger was Shiv Sena Hindustan general secretary Lakhan Singh’s appeal to volunteers to initiate a campaign seeking Hindu support for demolishing the centuries-old shrine, claiming that a Hindu temple used to exist at the site of the dargah.
The dargah is considered one of the most notable instances of syncretism in India with people of all faiths thronging to the shrine of ‘Gharib Nawaz’, patron saint of the poor.
The Khuddam-e-Khwaja community and Chishty Foundation of Ajmer Dargah organised a protest march on December 22; the Gaddi Nashin of Ajmer Sharif Dargah and chairman of the Chishty Foundation Syed Salman Chishty said that hundreds of khadims took to the streets and protested peacefully.
Shiv Sena Hindustan was in the headlines recently when its members staged a violent protest near the Udaipur court premises in support of Shambhulal Regar, accused of Afrazul’s murder.
Khadims of the dargah say that the shrine has been a symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity for the last 800 years, and that this is the first time that any group has tried to mobilise Hindus against the dargah.
A delegation of Khadims led by Syed Salman Chishty, including Syed Sarwar Chishty, Syed Ghulam Chishty, Syed Amin Miya Chishty, Syed Gohar Chishty and Syed Fakri Moin Chishty, met officials of the district administration and presented a memorandum on the safety of the dargah and maintenance of peace and harmony in the city.
Though Shiv Sena Hindustan’s name is similar to the name of the mainstream Shiv Sena, it has no affiliation with the party.