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Published in the 16-30 Nov 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Sectarian violence leaves clerics dead

Lucknow: Indefinite curfew was imposed in Orai, headquarters of Jalaun district in Uttar Pradesh, on October 29 following the murder of two Muslim clerics. Maulana Fahim Ahmad Ghauri of the Deobandi sect was shot dead by miscreants while he was on his way home after the morning prayers near a Masjid in Bazaria area of the town. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Two companions of Ghauri were injured in the attack.

In retaliation, hundreds of the followers of the deceased attacked the house of the 70-year-old Maulana Bashir Ahmad Qadri of the Barelwi sect, beheaded him, injured his wife, son and two daughters, ransacked his house and set three shops on fire.

Ghauri was the town qazi and principal of a primary school in Kukurgaon village while Qadri was imam of a mosque in Company Bagh area of the town. Rival groups tried to set afire shops in the town after these attacks and damaged some houses. As a result curfew was clamped on the town to stop further violence.

Police said that the murders were the fallout of a decade-old dispute between the two sects about domination over the ‘Pirewali masjid’ in Muslim-dominated Bazaria area. 

Thirteen persons have been arrested and FIRs registered against some other people in connection with the incidents. PAC and CRAF jawans have been posted in the town. Curfew was relaxed in most areas of the town on 1 November.

Maulana Asad Madani, president of Jamiatul Ulama-e Hind sharply condemned these incidents on 30 October. He said that differences do exist but there is no reason for violence. He termed it “senseless” and “ignorance of duties” adding that maslak differences must not lead to murder. “Civilised life is possible even with differences,” he said and appealed to all serious and responsible people to exert all efforts to keep maslak differences within limits and end the environment of violence and murder. Dr Nafees, general secretary of the All India Shia-Sunni United Front, termed the incidents as “very painful” and asked, “what message will go to the brethren of the homeland if such incidents take place between the followers of same maslak?”

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