A video has surfaced on social media showing a crowd of Hindutva supporters, allegedly members of Bajrang Dal, storming a mosque-madrassa and disrupting congregational prayers by shouting religious and hateful slogans. The incident is said to have taken place in the Roshnabad area of Haridwar district in Uttarakhand on Friday.
The police confirmed the incident. “Basically, It took place at a Madrasa on Friday when people were offering Namaz,” said Manish Negi, Sub-inspector at Sidcul police station. “Muslims in large numbers, including non-locals, would gather there in large numbers for Friday Namaz and some people protested against it.”
He said that the local police and administration officials including Sub-Divisional Magistrate arrived on the scene and pacified the situation. “It was a minor incident. We have not registered any case yet but are investigating the matter,” Negi said
The video shows the Hindutva supporters barging into the compound of the madrassa-mosque, shouting slogans like ‘Jai Shri Ram’, ‘Har Har Maha Dev’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ in the presence of police officials.
Maulana Arif Qasimi, a member of Jamiat Ulema Hind, alleged that the disruption of the prayers was a preplanned incident. The Masjid is situated close to a forest in a Hindu-dominated locality where a handful of Muslim tribal families from the Gujjar community also live. They rear cattle for a living.
According to Qasimi, the Muslims have been living there for many years after buying a few acres of land. They constructed a small building to serve as a masjid and madrassa to offer religious education to their children. The area is dominated by the Hindu community.
“For daily five prayers, only local Muslims visit the Mosque but the gathering swells to a couple of hundred men on Fridays as labourers, construction workers and some others visit the mosque for congregational prayers,” said Qasimi.
Two weeks back, Qasimi said, two cops visited the mosque before the Friday prayers and asked the Imam and locals that larger gatherings should not be held in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. “The police told the locals that only five men should hold the congregational prayers.”
A few days before last Friday, the police officials at Sidcul PS asked the Muslims to visit the police station with their land revenue documents. Qasimi said that a couple of days later, two policemen and a revenue official visited the spot and after assessing the facts on the ground asked the locals that they can continue offering the prayers as it is their own land. Qasmi said that he cautioned the locals and the Imam to not allow gatherings on Fridays.
On Friday, Qasimi said, around 150 Hinduva supporters stormed the mosque-madrassa compound . “They harassed and threatened the local Muslims and barged inside the mosque with their shoes and slippers on.”
Around the same time some officials of the local municipality, forest department and electricity department also reached the spot. “They cut the power supply to the mosque and forest officials took away the firewood that was lying there and warned of action,” added Qasimi.
The Jamiat leader said that he took up the matter with the top administration and police officials of the district. “We also held a meeting with the elder members of the Hindu community.”
Members from both the Muslim and Hindu communities are going to hold a meeting and discuss the issue with the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police on Monday, disclosed Qasimi.