PITCH REPORT – ‘Darbhanga module’ stereotype still hurts Muslims here

30, Oct 2015

Oct 30 2015 : The Times of India Darbhanga
In a town defined by the 400-year-old mazhar of Makhdoom Baba, a Sufi shrine revered by Hindus and Muslims, there are fears that the elections are creating fresh communal polarisation.In a city where 25% are Muslim, residents say the beef ban and the Dadri kaand have created garmahat between communities.
Two years ago, NIA claimed it had smashed Indian Mujahideen’s “Darbhanga module“, allegedly set up by Yasin Bhatkal, and responsible for a series of blasts, including the 137 Mumbai train bombings.
The scars of NIA ‘s actions remain. In the shadow of Madrassa Hamidia at Qila Ghat, Darbhanga’s Muslim heart, there’s talk of 10 innocent Muslim boys who remain untraced. NIA had picked them up. “The guilty must be punished, but why are the in nocent boys still untraceable?“ asks Tasqeen Azmi. “Boys who played cricket with Fasih Mehmood -Bhatkal’s associate -were picked up and have disappeared. What was their crime?“ Darbhanga Muslims want to erase the scars of a community being branded with terrorism charges, but say the politics of the day doesn’t permit closure.Says Iqbal Hassan, a businessman: “This time Durga Puja and Muharram happened at the same time. A drunkard tried to steal a sheet from a pandal. Rumours were spread that a Muslim was trying to tear down the pandal.“


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