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UP: Ahead of Eid, Meat Packets, Torn Pages of Holy Book Thrown Outside Mosques in Ayodhya

Police arrests 7 persons, led by one Mahesh Mishra, who claims to be the leader of Hindu Yodha Sangthan.

7 people arrested Ayodhya

Lucknow: Days ahead of Eid, tension gripped the communally sensitive Ayodhya city of Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday night after a group of people threw pieces of meat that appeared to be pork outside three mosques and a shrine and torn pages of a religious text in "an attempt to disrupt peace and harmony in temple town. 

Three mosques — Taatshah Jama Masjid, Masjid Ghosiyana, Kashmiri Mohalla Masjid — and a shrine of Gulab Shah Baba, under Kotwali police station are the four spots where objectionable items were thrown on Wednesday night. Police said 11 people were involved in the conspiracy; four are still absconding.

The police arrested seven accused involved in the incident. They have been identified as Mahesh Kumar Mishra, Pratyush Srivastava, Nitin Kumar, Deepak Kumar Gaur alias Gunjan, Brijesh Pandey, Shatrughan Prajapati, and Vimal Pandey. All of them are residents of Ayodhya.

Senior Superintendent of Police (Ayodhya), Shailesh Kumar Pandey, told the media that 11 people led by one Mahesh Mishra were behind the incident, who claimed to be leader of 'Hindu Yodha Sangthan'. Seven have been arrested while four others are absconding. He said that it was an attempt to trigger communal riots in Ayodhya but the Muslim community kept patience and reposed faith in the Ayodhya district administration to foil the nefarious designs of the anti-social elements.

The accused have been booked under relevant Sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), the SSP said.

"Mahesh Kumar Mishra, the main conspirator along with his other accomplices, hatched a conspiracy at Brijesh Pandey's house in opposition to the recent incident in Jahangirpuri of Delhi. They purchased skull caps, two copies of sacred books, raw meat and writing material. Abuses and threats were written on the paper and they proceeded towards the Beniganj area on motorcycles to dump all this material there," Pandey told the media.

However, due to deployment of a police van in Beniganj area they dropped their plan to dump the material there. Finally, the objectionable material was thrown outside Taatshah Jama Masjid, Masjid Ghosiyana, a masjid at Kashmiri Mohalla and at Mazaar known as Gulab Shah Baba.All these religious places fall under the jurisdiction of Kotwali City police station of Ayodhya.

The police said they have registered four FIRs in connection with the incidents and action under the Gangsters Act and National Security Act (NSA) will also be initiated against them.

NewsClick spoke with the Muezzin (a person who proclaims the call to the daily prayer) of Taatshah Jama Masjid, one of mosques where the objectionable materials were thrown, who said: "It was around 4:00 am in the morning when I opened the gate of mosque, I was shocked to find torn pages of the Quran scattered along with some objectionable posters saying they will kill us (Muslims) with bombs if we pelt stones."

Ghulam Rasool, a khadim (attendant) at Gulab Shah Dargah, the second spot were the objectionable items were found, said that pages of the torn Quran with blood or probably red colour and a packet of stale meat and an objectionable poster were found at the shrine.

"It was a pre-planned conspiracy by these people as they knew Eid is round the corner and such a move can lead to communal violence," he said, demanding stringent action against the accused. 

Reacting on the rising instances of attacks on mosques, Sudhir Mishra, a social activist in Ayodhya, said: "This is not the first incident where these goons tried to disrupt the peaceful atmosphere of Ayodhya. The minorities are being targeted violently and aggressively in the whole country, especially in Uttar Pradesh through lynchings and other religion-based crimes. They are also being socially, economically and physically threatened. But since no harsh action has been taken against accused so far, they are free to do whatever they want to do.”

Mishras said the pattern of all these attacks across the country should be researched. “They either take out a procession and stop in front of a mosque and raise objectionable slogans to provoke the Muslim community, or they to throw objectionable items outside mosques. In both cases, they are in front of a mosque because they know this can provoke people of other faiths.”

He said such activities will not stop “until the government books them under the National Security Act, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act or or just bulldoze their houses for which this government is infamous."

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