Haryana violence: Vandals stir life in calm hamlet
The village wore a deserted look on Wednesday with most shops shut and people staying indoors but peeping outside
A torn religious book was on the ground, and the cloth mat inside was soiled even as the mosque at Rasulpur village, 52km from Nuh city, was vandalised on Wednesday morning. Locals blamed outsiders for vandalism and stayed indoors fearing for their safety.
In the last three days, Haryana’s Palwal had its brush with communal clashes where at least four mosques were damaged, and 20 incidents of violence leading to damage were reported. Police said that 12 FIRs have been filed in the district in this regard.
Rasulpur village is inhabited mostly by the Hindu community, located right in the middle of plush green farms and one has to navigate kuchcha roads to reach the village.
The village wore a deserted look on Wednesday with most shops shut and people staying indoors but peeping outside.
Recalling the events of Wednesday morning, Sunita, 45, who lives next to the mosque said that around 11am, she was leaving her home to open her grocery store when she saw several men pass by on motorcycles, wearing orange clothes. Some had covered their faces.
“They came on 100 bikes if not more and started breaking the walls of the mosque. They were chanting religious slogans. I stayed inside till they left,” she said. Sunita came out of the house when she saw the police and the mob had dispersed.
Moharrir head constable Mahender Singh said that five men were arrested in connection with the case on Wednesday.
When HT visited the mosque, the iron gate was found broken along with walls and small cement structures inside the place. A small room inside the mosque was also found torched. Locals were slowly gathering to see the remains of the structure when deputy superintendent of police Vijay Pal reached the spot to take stock of the situation.
“The situation is normal now. We are patrolling in the area to ensure no untoward incident takes place. There is heavy police presence at all vulnerable points,” he told HT.
Ram Pal, 55, another resident who lives adjacent to the mosque, said that it has been here since before his grandfather’s time. “This village was inhabited by Muslims before the Partition. Though no one permanently resides here in the mosque, a few times people have come asking for money for its repairs and we have given the meagre amount they asked for,” he said adding that no Muslim families lived close to the mosque.
A 35-year-old man, who repairs bikes in the market nearby, said that he saw the men on the bike cross the market in the morning. “A few shopkeepers here are Muslims and we live here in peace. Those who came were probably outsiders and not from the village,” he said.
When HT visited, a few members of the Muslim community were cleaning the Jama Masjid of the area as police guarded the structure. Two men on a bike could be heard chanting religious slogans driving past the mosque as a police officer tried to shoo them away. “This is what creates problems,” said Liyakat Ali, 41, a regular at the mosque.
Recalling the events of Monday evening, Liyakat Ali said that a mob entered the mosque in the evening after breaking the door.
“Books were stacked in a rack. They took those out and burnt them. They also littered trash inside the mosque,” he said while showing the remains of the burnt books now wrapped in a bed sheet.
According to the locals, another mosque called Guptaganj Masjid and a mazaar was also vandalised by the mosque on Monday.
At least three houses close to the Guptaganj Masjid were found locked from outside. A local who identified himself as Imran said that the families have left the place for a few days and will return after the situation gets better. “They come and go. They have kids, therefore, to ensure their safety, they have gone to stay with the relatives for a few days,” Imran said.