Mohalla Committee concept was a brainchild of police officer Mr. Khopade, who first-hand witnessed the Hindu Muslim riots in 1992-93 in Bhivandi.Mumbai, a backlash of the Babri Masjid demolition. He witnessed how rumors spread, how people with malicious self-interest took advantage of the situation, how the communities segregated and how it all evantually lead to complete breakdown of law and order. And then he came up with an excellent idea. Mohalla Committee. A group of citizen closely working with cops on continuous basis.
This group meets regularly, every month or so. The main emphasis is on proactive activities to diffuse tension and keep communication. This helps reduce rumors spreading. This prevents people with vested interests from taking advantage of the situation. Since the establishment of Mohalla Committee, the Hindu Muslim tension in Bhivandi has reduced considerably.
Today Mohalla Committees exist all over Mumbai. These groups meet regularly with local police. They keep track of crime statistics. They keep track of local miscreants. They have a record of emergency services in the area, doctors, hospitals, ambulances. They organize joint petrols in the sensitive areas.
However in a village in Khed, District Sindudurg, Maharashtra, Fr. Joe was invited to speak at a unique Mohalla committe which is in existence for more than 3 generations.The people of this village have a strong sense of brotherhood and both Muslims and Hindus live in great harmony. The most amazing part at this meeting was the mentioning of Christ, Ram, Rahim taken by people outside their faiths.
Fr. Joe spoke on the ill healths of addiction and HIV/AIDS. and the teachings of Christ. Fr. Joe later sang the song by Vinobha Bhave in which it sings praises of the Higher Powers of all religions, which amazed everyone and was well appauled at the end. Fr. Joe has been invited by the people in Khed to start a centre , as they have been badly effected by alcoholism.
This committee consists of local Hindu and Muslim heads, local civil authorities, Bank managers, police patil and prominent businessmen.