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Published in the 16-31 March 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Mosque attacked in Kerala, one killed, two injured

By K Hamza

The Milli Gazette Online

Calicut: One person was stabbed to death and two others were seriously injured when an armed gang of around ten youths, allegedly RSS activists, attacked the juma masjid in Vallikunnam in Alappuzha district, Kerala on February 23. Ashraff, 30 was stabbed while he was speaking to the Imam in front of the mosque. The assailants reached the mosque in a jeep and a bike. The glass panes of the windows and shutters were damaged. The two injured are Noor Mohammed al Hassani, the Imam, and Ibrahim Kutty Musliar. The victims had been taken to Kottayam Medical College by the police. Ashraff succumbed to his injuries on February 24. The others were praying in the mosque at the time of attack and they ran helter-skelter amid mayhem and confusion.

It was reported that the attack was a sequel to an attack on an RSS activist, Rajesh by some persons considered to be National Development Front (NDF) sympathizers in Kaduvinal locality. Vallikkunnam police had registered a case in connection with this attack. Clashes between the RSS and NDF have been taking place in this district for the past one year.

Many people, including various political leaders, had attended the funeral of Ashraff, whose body was buried at Kaduvinal juma masjid.

In the wake of a hartal called in the locality by the NDF and other Muslim organizations in protest against the attack, a strong police force headed by the Inspector General of Police, T.P. Senkumar, and Alappuzha Superintendent of Police, Mahipal Yadav, was camping in the area. The hartal passed off without any untoward incident. But a tense atmosphere is still prevailing.

Meanwhile, CPI leader Binoy Viswam MLA paid a visit to the kin of the deceased and blamed the government which had failed to take preemptive action against the communal unrest prevailing in the area. The NDF has no base in Vallikkunnam, albeit a majority of people there are Muslims.

The police version is that the mosque was not promoting any communal activity, whereas a fracas between a local RSS leader and a gang of four youths consisting of CPM and NDF activists on a personal issue had culminated in the attack at the masjid at Vallikunnam. A few days ago, an NDF poster had been pasted on the mosque’s premises. The mosque committee approached the police seeking their help to remove the poster. It appears that neither the imam of the mosque nor its committee indulged in any communal activities. The Hindu extremist organizations are restive due to the re-construction and rehabilitation activities of various minority NGOs in this district, which had been the worst hit in the tsunami calamity. They allege that these organizations are trying to convert Hindus to their own religion under cover of voluntary services to the tsunami victims. They got a clue in this regard from some Christian missionaries who arrived in the district along with some north Indian labourers employed in the construction of houses under their supervision and financing.

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