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Holy Qur’an thrown into dustbin in Jamshedpur
By Afsar Ali Jamshedpur

The crime of desecrating the Holy Qur'an was committed in Jamshedpur on 28 March. Sakchi Police (Jamshedpur) arrested two persons (Muhammad Sakir Khan and Kaiser Raza, both residents of Buxar and Hind Pirihi respectively) for desecrating the Holy Qur'an. Arrested under IPC section 295(A), they were sent to judicial custody on 29 March 2001.

The curious incident at Sakchi Jamshedpur set alarm bells ringing more so because the Union Home Ministry had alerted all Chief Secretaries about the possibility of such mischief. Citing incidents reported from Delhi, Amritsar, Kanpur and Lucknow the Ministry warned state governments that there could be a method in the madness and that such incidents could occur. The communication bearing number 14015/1/2001-N1 (US/DV) was faxed to the state government on 22 March. "While investigations are in progress and some persons have been arrested, it is clear that some elements are trying to incite communal violence in a systematic and planned manner", the report said. The report predicted that similar attacks could take place all over the country. "The situation becomes all the more sensitive in the light of the forthcoming religious festivals" it alerted. The Home Ministry recommended a number of preventive steps , the first of which is to step-up intelligence gathering. "Those who may be trying to incite communal tension may be identified and a close watch kept on their activities--- if necessary preventive arrests may be made" the report said.

Muhammad Shakir Khan was nabbed while throwing torn pages of the Holy Qur'an in a dustbin at a public place at 11:00am near Karim Talkies in Sakchi, Jamshedpur. Some passers-by, who were Muslims, spotted him while committing the crime. They nabbed the culprit and handed him over to the Sakchi police in Jamshedpur. On being interrogated Sakir Khan revealed that one of his friends Kaiser Raza residing in Hind Pirhi (Ranchi) had given him the Qur'an and other holy books and religious materials for desecration. On the basis of this information the police went to Ranchi and arrested Kaiser Raza from there.
The police has registered a case bearing number 40-2001 against Sakir Khan and Kaiser Raza on the basis of a statement made by Sheikh Hassan Asghar, a resident of Luka Road, Sakchi (Jamshedpur). Sheikh Hassan Asghar has stated that he and his friends had nabbed the culprit and had subsequently handed him over to the police.

The police say that they are investigating into the circumstances that led Shakir Khan to desecrate the Holy Qur'an at a public place. Shailesh Kr. Singh, DC and Amitabh Choudhary, SP, East Singhbhum have urged the people not to pay attention to rumours and help the game of bad elements who want to affect the peaceful atmosphere of the town. Mr. Singh and Mr. Choudhary have exposed that on 19 March a Qur'an Sharif in a plastic bag was found in garbage near the gate of Graduate Women’s College at Sakchi, Jamshedpur. Since then police was alert.

According to sources Shakir, suspected to be mentally ill came to Jamshedpur from Buxar and tried to stay at Jugsalai. Kaiser Raza is also confirmed to be mentally ill. Doctors have been treating him at the Ranchi Mental Hospital since July 1997. Members of Kaiser’s family say that ten days before the incident in Jamshedpur, Kaiser had brought home a man who seemed to be insane and was turned away by his family. They identified that man when newspapers printed the picture of the person who desecrated the Holy Qur'an in Jamshedpur.

Muslims are shocked and pained to know that the criminals, though insane, belong to their own community. They say that a Muslim who believes in Islam cannot commit such a crime because the Qur'an is not a worldly but a heavenly book. Some Muslims say that the conspirators have taken advantage of Shakir’s insanity and have desecrated the Qur'an to divert the attention of the District Administration from the incident of 19 March when a Qur'an Sharif was found in a dustbin near the gate of Graduate Women’s college in the town. It is a matter of regret that the District Administration has failed so far to trace the real conspirators.

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