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Lucknow riots a handiwork of police and
By Obaid Nasir, Lucknow
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
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
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. q