By Hasan Akram
Scores of BJP supporters on Tuesday evening vandalised a mosque and beaten up people inside the premise. The incident took place during a procession taken out over the victory of BJP candidate Pawan Jaiswal in Jamua, a village in Bihar’s East Champaran.
The slogan “Jai Shri Ram” was raised inside the mosque and several people were left injured.
Five people who were inside the mosque offering Maghrib prayers were severely injured. Three people received head injuries, apart from injuries on their backs. One person received injuries to his nose. Several vehicles were also vandalised. The mic of the mosque and its two gates were broken during the act of vandalism, reported The Wire.
Local journalist Anzar Ahmed Sadique told this correspondent that the BJP supporters took out the victory precession in the village and they stopped outside a mosque when several devotees were offering the Maghrib prayer inside. “They started creating much disturbance [with louder music and dance] outside the mosque,” he added. When one of the devotees asked them to move ahead as people in the mosque were getting disturbed with their loud music they resorted to pelting stones at the shrine.
Mazhar Alam, caretaker of the mosque, said that stones were pelted at the mosque during the Maghrib prayers. He told The Wire, “There were about 500 people in this juloos (procession) who were celebrating the win of Pawan Jaiswal in the assembly elections. When they came near the mosque, they started pelting stones at it. They broke its gates, its mic – all while chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’.” He said added that the mosque is one of the oldest in the area.
Two persons have been arrested so far, Millat Times reported.
Abhay Kumar, station house officer of the Dhaka PS, told The Wire, “A vijay juloos (victory procession) was taken out by BJP supporters in the area when this happened. They were sloganeering with a mic when they reached the mosque. A shopkeeper outside the mosque asked them to stop the mic as Maghrib prayers were going on inside, but they didn’t listen and hence a verbal fight ensued, because of which the people in the rally started pelting stones at the mosque,” he said.
A first information report (FIR) was registered and the police have invoked several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) such as 145 (joining or continuing in unlawful assembly, knowing it has been commanded to disperse), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) and 307 (attempt to murder), The Wire report added.
Speaking to this correspondent, JDU MLC Khalid Anwar tried to put the blame on supporters of RJD politician Faisal Rahman alleging that they unnecessarily stopped the procession. “What was the need to stop the procession?” he asked. When he was told that the procession was causing a disturbance to devotees praying inside the mosque he responded, “People do not look at their watch before taking out a procession or they may have [deliberately] taken out the procession at the time of Namaz [prayers]”.