MP: Muslim Tent Worker Jailed for Allegedly Putting Black Cloth Atop Temple in Sagar Town
Bhopal: In Madhya Pradesh's Sagar district, the police arrested a 24-year-old Muslim youth hired to illuminate a temple ahead of Diwali for allegedly putting a black flag atop the temple late Sunday night.
The youth was identified as Sageer Rayen, a resident of Qazi Muhalla of Sagar town, who worked with his brothers in a tent shop to make a living.
The arrest took place after a group of Hindu outfits raised slogans against Muslims, created an uproar and staged a sit-in protest near Teen Batti Square, objecting to the man’s presence on the temple's roof, accusing him of putting a black cloth on the light on top of the temple.
Several purported videos of the incident, which went viral on social media, show some youths raising defamatory slogans against the Muslim community in the presence of police, who were seen trying to talk to the protestors.
Abusive content.— काश/if Kakvi (@KashifKakvi) October 25, 2021
कल MP के सागर में तीन बत्ती स्तिथ हनुमान मंदिर की छत पर एक मुस्लिम टेंट वाला मन्दिर से सेट खंबे से लाइट खोलने चढ़ा। उसपर आपत्ति जताते हुए कुछ अस्थानीय लोगों ने खूब हंगामा किया और भड़काऊ नारे लगाए।
पुलिस ने टेंट वाले पर 3 धाराओं में FIR दर्ज़ कर गिरफ्तार किया। pic.twitter.com/YAs6JIMNDc
Later, the police, as demanded by the Right-wing outfit, lodged an FIR (first information report) against Sageer in the City Kotwali police station under Section 294 (obscene acts and songs), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and arrested him.
Confirming this, Satish Singh, Town Inspector of Kotwali police station, told NewsClick over the phone: "On the complaint of Mayank Bhatt, a case has been registered against Sageer for putting a black cloth atop of mandir and we arrested him."
According to the police, Sageer had been working with his elder brother, Rashid Rayan, who runs a tent shop in Sagar city with the name Sabrung and was given lighting work a few days ago by the owner of Kamal Jewellers, who has a shop next to the temple.
Rashid Rayan (30) told NewsClick over the phone that he was hired by the caretaker of the temple, Balli Kakka Soni, for illuminating the temple for the upcoming festival just like every year.
"Just like previous years, he (Sageer) struck a deal with the owner of Kamal Jewellers for lighting the temple as well as his home for a week at the cost of Rs 10,000. He (had been working on the site for the past two days before the incident”, he said, adding that "he might have put a black cloth to make the illumination more beautiful but not for hurting religious sentiments. When people objected after a heated argument, he removed the cloth on the temple caretaker's request. As he climbed up the temple again to remove the cloth, a group of people gathered and started raising slogans against him and my community," Rashid said.
Rashid claimed that Sageer was “dull-minded” and was also consulting a doctor in Bhopal. “He was suffering from some unknown disease and often behaved like a mad man. At the doctor's suggestion, I had booked October 27 train tickets to take him to Agra for a check-up. But the Court extended the date of his bail application as the police did not send the case diary," Rashid added.
When NewsClick approached the temple's caretaker, Balli Kakka Soni, he refused to comment, saying: "I don't know much about the incident as I was sleeping last night."
Meanwhile, the defamatory slogans have irked members of the Muslim community who submitted a memorandum to the Superintendent of Police (SP) Atul Singh demanding stern action against the miscreants who had publicly used abusive language against the community.
“We have registered our disagreement over last night's incident and demanded stern action against the miscreants who were trying to disrupt the peace," Shahar Mufti Tarique Anwar told reporters after meeting the SP. When contacted, SP Sagar refused to comment on the issue.
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