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Lucknow riots a handiwork of police and politicians
By Obaid Nasir, Lucknow

Funeral procession of Naeemuddin killed by copsEid Miladun-nabi (birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad) turned out to be Muharram (mourning) for two Muslim families of Lucknow whose teen-aged sons, Naeemuddin, a resident of Husainganj, and Irfan, a resident of Khadra, were gunned down by trigger-happy UP Police. The entire Muslim population of Lucknow mostly residing in the walled (old) city were held at ransom as they fought pitched battles against the police.

The riots started at the wee hours of 5 June when the entire Muslim population was in festive mood. Historical and majestic Teele Wali Masjid, situated at the bank of river Gomti, had been fondly decorated and the Milad programme, attended by thousand of Muslims mostly youth, had continued the whole previous night. It was at about 3.30 am that three constables on duty allegedly tried to molest a girl who had come there to see the illuminations. At her cries some youths rushed to the place and rescued the girl. They also entered into an altercation with the constables .One of them, Suresh Chandra, allegedly opened fire that killed Naeemuddin on the spot. Police version says that the girl was spotted in compromising situation with the boy at a secluded place at the rear site of the mosque and when they asked them to move away they raised the alarm.

Following this tragic incident the mob went on the rampage and torched a few houses and vehicles. They put the body of Naeemuddin in side the mosque and refused to hand it over to police for post mortem without adequate compensation and registration of cases against the guilty cops.

The district administration tried to control the situation by bringing Maulana Kalbe Jawwad, Maulana Aleem Farooqui and Maulana Fazlur Rahman Waizi, the Imam of Teele wali Masjid. It also agreed to pay a compensation of Rs two lakh immediately and recommend a further compensation of three lakhs to the chief minister.

On the other hand, Sunni Muslims were busy in bringing out Madh-e Sahaba procession from Aminabad Park that culminates at Idgah in Aishbagh It may be noted that Lucknow is the only place in the world where this innovation of Juloos (procession), that means eulogizing Sahaba-e- Karam (Prophet’s companions), is brought out on eve of Prophet’s birth anniversary. At all other places in the Subcontinent it is Juloos Mohammadi that is brought out on this great day of Islamic history.

This posed a ticklish situation for both Muslims and administration as it was becoming difficult to control both the fronts. The mob at Teele Wali Masjid tried to join this procession with the dead body of Naeemuddin and had already reached midway to the Medical College crossing but was somehow prevented from joining the procession to prevent the situation going out of hand.

Muslims from Khadra, Husainabad and Chowk areas came rushing to Teele Wali Masjid and soon they outnumbered the police which was already thinned out over many sectors. The mob attacked the police from three sides, i.e. Khadra on the north side of the mosque where the mob reached the Hardings bridge popularly known as Pucca pul, Roomi gate on west and Chowk to the south. It may be noted that the mob which came from Husainabad was mixed, with both Shias and Sunnis, whereas the mob which came from Chowk was purely Shia and the one that came from Khadra was purely Sunni. Thus the Muslims in Lucknow once again displayed their unity in a very testing time.

The police force was confined at Teele Wali Masjid crossing and resorted to firing from there which led to the death of Irfan, a resident of Khadra locality. He was badly injured and brought to Balrampur hospital from where he was referred to the Medical College and finally to SGPGI where he breathed his last. The Administration announced the same amount of compensation for Irfan as for the earlier victim of police firing.

The Police top brass got a taste of indiscipline of the notorious PAC which refused to obey even the Deputy Inspector General Sulkhan Singh and asked for a written order to initiate action against the mob. The PAC once again its monsterous face.

The administration too displayed its partiality when it initiated action against Maulana Fazlur Rahman Waizi, the Imam of Teele Wali Masjid for inciting the mob. In fact both Maulana Waizi and Teele Wali Masjid are an eye sore for Lalji Tandon, RSS stalwart, the local member of state assembly, self proclaimed right hand man of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and minister of urban development in the U.P. government. Sangh Parivar claims it to be Lachman Teela and, like many other mosques, sees a temple beneath it. With the blessing of Lalji Tandon and Atal Bihari Vajpayee a grand temple has been constructed in close proximity of the mosque and after few years it may become a headache for Muslims.

Tandon earlier planned to construct a road adjacent to the mosque in order to weaken its foundations. This was opposed by Muslims and Tandon had to beat a retreat. Then came the episode of Sajjadbagh where the sewage treatment plant was to be constructed and this too was opposed by Muslims and Maulana Kalbe Jawwad was in the forefront of this campaign but Maulana Waizi also joined him. Tandon was naturally irked and according to informed sources he has warned both the Maulanas in a meeting that ‘Hamare DM aur SP nay choorhiyan nahin pahen rakkhi hain” (our district magistrate and police superintendent are not powerless).

On 6 June youth belonging to Shiv Sena and Hindu Jagran Manch brought out a motorcycle procession from the busy Vidhan Sabha Marg displaying arms and hurling choicest abuses on Islam and Muslims. When they reached the state BJP office they met a bearded Muslim rickshaw puller and beat him up mercilessly; another Muslim youth was also badly beaten by these goondas. T he police chased them and arrested few of them but they were set free after a few hours.
Meanwhile erring cops responsible for Naeemuddin’s murder have been arrested and sent on 14 days police remand. Maulana Kalbe Jawwad visited the houses of Naeemuddin and Irfan and charged that a minister is trying his best to incite communal violence in the city to boost his sagging political fortune.

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