Copies of Holy Quran burnt in Chhattisgarh amid riots
By Sahar Khan
Milli Gazette Online
27 April 2006
Raipur: A personal scuffle resulting in a murder of an independent corporator of Pithora Nagar Panchayat in Mahasamund district of Chhattisgarh led to a vicious communal onslaught where the minority Muslim was targeted.
Besides setting ablaze more than 25 Muslim-owned shops, the miscreants did not spare the only mosque in the locality. They attacked it, burnt copies of Holy Quran, and fled after putting on fire everything they found inside the mosque. The incident has shaken the confidence of minorities in the district. The Imam of the mosque was also attacked and seriously injured when he protested the scoundrels who entered the mosque and damaged whatever they could lay their hands on.
Had there been no shelter offered to Muslim families by members of the Sikh community in the mofussil town of Pithora, the loss of Muslim lives would have taken place. Nevertheless substantial losses to properties own by Muslims took place and went unreported by the media.
This incident took place within the climate of hate generated by the Bharat Suraksha Yatra of the BJP leader L K Advani which passed through Chhattisgarh during April 22-23. Owing to the deployment of massive police force pulled from various districts of the state for the security of Advani, barely four police personnel were present to quell the aggressive mob in Pithora. "I called and spoke to Mahasamund superintendent of police more than a dozen times when the situation was turning volatile," said the Pithora corporator Harjinder Singh Pappu.
It is hjighly regrettable that the state chief minister Raman Singh chose to play insensitive to the incident and offered a petty compensatory amount of only one hundred thousand rupees for the overall losses faced by Muslims for no fault of theirs, said Iqbal Ahmed Rizvi, a former chairman of the Chhattisgarh Minority Commission, who is preparing to take up the issue with the National Commission for Minorities in Delhi.
A local journalist Zakir Qureshi told MG that a corporator called Hira Nishad was killed on the grounds of personal animosity by three youths, two were Muslim and the third a Sikh. All four were initially friends and owing to certain dispute, Nishad was killed by the rest three, Qureshi said.
A delegation of minorities from Pithora led by Harjinder Singh met Governor KM Seth today, 27 April, and sought his intervention in directing the state government to institute judicial inquiry into the episode, ensuring suitable compensation to sufferers and deterrent punishment to those responsible for vitiating communal harmony. The delegation presented to the governor a list of 17 miscreants who went on a attacking spree targetting minority belongings in Pithora, stated