‘No shred of evidence of terror-funding in Palwal mosque’s construction’ : DMC fact finding team

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DMC report on Palwal mosque being released

Delhi Minority Panel’s fact finding team releases probe report

By Abdul Bari Masoud, MuslimMirror.com,

New Delhi: Releasing the Probe Report on the allegations of terror-fund being used in the construction of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen Masjid in Uttawar village of Palwal district in Haryana here on Wednesday, the Fact-Finding Committee of Delhi Minorities Commission said it did not come across any evidence to prove this propaganda unleashed by a section of media by using the anonymous National Investigative Agency (NIA) sources. The committee alleged that the NIA did not follow the due procedure of law in the arrest of Imam Mohammad Salman and seizure of documents. It also revealed that the anti-terror agency did not mention a single word about the mosque in its two press handouts on the issue.

Fact-Finding Committee members told reporters at a press conference that the local people, including all religious and caste groups insisted that they themselves have contributed and raised funds for building of the Khulafa-eRashideen Masjid and masjid’s name was dragged because of the internal property dispute. They also said the NIA allegation of Rs. 70 lacs received from overseas was found to be untrue as there was no entry of such amount in any documents.

Smashing the terror–funding theory, Ovais Sultan Khan, who headed the Committee, said Khulafa-e-Rashideen Masjid is of Tablighi Jamaat while Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)-and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) belong to Salafi School of thought as these two does not agree with each others’ teachings and practices. It seems a clear case of targeting and defaming a community in the name of terror, he added.

Questioning the intention of NIA, another member A C Michael said why the agency is silent on the propaganda run by a section of media using it unnamed sources. He said using foreign funding for construction of a religious place is not crime under any law and there was no evidence that the accused Imam Salman had brought any money from abroad. Specifically taking the name of Hindi daily Jagran, Michael said the media should not indulge in negative propaganda against a particular religious group.

DMC chairman Dr Zafarul Islam Khan said the commission has constituted the committee to reach the bottom of the allegations of terror-funding for the mosque. He said after extensive tour of the area and talking to people of every walks of life and local police the committee members did not find any iota of evidence to these absurd and baseless allegations.

In its 36-page report, the committee has concluded that the local Hindus and Muslims have together donated the total 10 acres land for Masjid and Madarsa (8 acre), Government Hospital and Old-age Home (2 acre) from their Shamlaati property (collective land).

In his testimony, Rohtas Kuma, a native of the Maluka village told the Committee that “All the news about funding from Pakistan for this Masjid is only propaganda to destroy the image of the Mewat region and to polarize the voters by communal forces”.

Rohtas Kumar runs a photo studio namely R.K. Photo Studio in the Uttawar Market testified that in 2009/2010 the foundation stone ceremony was organized at this place of Masjid where videography and photography of the event done by him.

Other key findings of the report are as below:

1. Harvindar Yadav (NIA Officer) told family of Mohammad Salman that somebody complained against Mohammad Salman in Ministry, which was referred to NIA.

2. The complaint, FIR, and arrest dates do not match the order of incidents.

3. Mohammad Salman was in illegal NIA detention on 25-26 September 2018. He was produced before the NIA Special Court at Patiala House District Court on 27 September 2018.

4. NIA allegation of Rs. 70 lacs received from overseas was found to be untrue.

5. NIA seized all original receipts, records, registers and diaries along with a hard disk and pen drive from Mohammad Salman’s home but not prepared any seizure memo at spot at the time of seizure. Neither provided copy of the records.

6. NIA Team raided Khulafa-e-Rashideen Masjid, but it had not recorded the statement of any villagers and members of Masjid Committee.

7. NIA also seized all original receipts, records and registers from Khulafa-e-Rashideen Masjid Committee, but not prepared any seizure memo at the time of seizure. Neither provided any receipt.

8. There are many serious procedural lapses by NIA. 14. The name and details of the case are not available at the NIA website.

9. Two Press Releases (dated 26 September 2018 and 12 October 2018 ) issued by NIA does not mention Khulafa-e-Rashideen Masjid or its construction by terror-funding.

The committee also made five recommendations asking Delhi Minorities Commission to direct the UCO Bank, Bhogal Branch, Delhi to submit the CCTV recording of 25th September 2018, from where Mohammad Salman was taken into illegal detention by NIA.

2. DMC should issue an advisory to all media houses and agencies to be careful in reporting the alleged terror related cases. They should not make it sensational.

3. It should write to Union Home Secretary about procedural lapses done by NIA in this case.

4. It should organise legal rights and procedural laws trainings in minority concentrated localities for awareness related to legal literacy among the common masses which are victims in many cases by law enforcement authorities.

The other members of Committee Abu Bakr Sabbaq, advocate and human rights worker, and Sardar Gurmindar Singh Matharu, Member of Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee also spoke on the occasion.

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