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Published in the 16-29 Feb 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Police excesses on people offering namaz

Najibabad: Someone spread the rumour that a cow’s skin was found in a mosque in Dhirpur village in Najibabad. On hearing this rumour, CO Najibabad, Radhey Mohan Bhardwaj, incharge of Nagal police station, and some other police officials reached the mosque along with a police force. They summoned village pradhan Munney Khan and asked him about the cow skin in the mosque. There were some exchanges of hot words between the police and other people. The police authorities entered the mosque. At that time people were offering Isha namaz. When there were disturbances and noise, people abandoned their namaz and and an exchange of hot words followed. Some people became highly agitated and resorted to stone-pelting at the police party.

In retaliation police resorted to cane-charge and firing in the air. They also allegedly set fire to some houses as a result of which a one-year old child was injured. They also allegedly set fire to a portion in the mosque. The agitated namazis resorted to heavy stone pelting which resulted in the hasty retreat of the police party leaving several of them injured. They damaged police vehicles also. District Congress chief, Sudhir Prashar, Naseem Ansari and other responsible persons tried to bring about peace. Additional SP Sharad Sachchar too reached there for inspecting the mosque and other places. He called a meeting of senior and responsible people of the village to bring normalcy in the locality and after describing the incident as shameful, he assured the people of a magisterial enquiry.

Though the police used abusive and insulting language against the people and also misbehaved with women, some people did admit that some skins of goats and buffaloes were kept in a room of the mosque but the police on the excuse of cow skins, wanted to let loose terror on villagers. They also allegedly got medical certificates to prove their injuries inflicted by people with the intention of taking further action. (Rashtriya Sahara [Urdu], 5 Feb 2004)

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