The Muslim women of Subhash Mohalla in North Ghonda felt it first hand, when saffron flags came up on the gate of their locality shortly after the midnight of August 5, purportedly accompanied by incendiary sloganeering. The local Hindus in the neighbourhood were celebrating the bhoomi pujan of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, and the celebration extended late into the night.
It was a sleepless night for the families living in lane 2 of the Subhash Mohalla. “Between 1 and 2 am on August 6, eight to 10 men were sloganeering ‘Jai Shri Ram’ outside our lane,” says Shaheen, 38, who runs a small shop here. “Then they raised obscene slogans like ‘Mullo bahar jao’, ‘Suaron bahar jao’.” Muslims, get out. Pigs, get out.
A green thread hangs loosely on the gate. Shaheen says it is a firecracker that the men hung from the gate last night and set off to ‘terrorise’ the Muslim residents.
The lanes in Subhash Mohalla are slit by a thin street that sunders them into majority Hindu and Muslim neighbourhoods. So, while Shaheen and her neighbours were spooked by post-midnight sloganeering, the other side of the lane is populated with saffron flags embedded with ‘Jai Shri Ram’ in bold. “Our lane is under siege,” says Ruksana, 42. “The electricity also went off last night and the men were trying to break the gate’s lock.”