India’s Gurugram Muslims Frightened After Attack on Mosque

Photo: special

Gurugram, MINA – The Anjuman Jama Mosque in Sector 57 Gurugram is quiet. About 10 police officers stood in front of the concrete building that once housed up to 450 worshippers but is now a mound of rubble and ashes.

This mosque on the outskirts of India’s predominantly Hindu capital, New Delhi, was attacked on the evening of July 31, allegedly by a mob of right-wing Hindus. The attackers set fire to the mosque and killed Mohammad Saad, a 22-year-old deputy imam who was inside at the time.

As quoted from on Thursday, Imran Qureshi who lives 100 meters from the mosque said he heard six shots around 12.10am.

“There was a mob of about 70 people outside the mosque, shouting slogans. I’m scared,” he said planning to move to a Muslim-majority area for security reasons.

The attack came hours after deadly communal violence erupted in the neighboring Noah district of Haryana state. Interior designer Mohammad Faheem Kazmi regularly prays at the burning mosque and now admits he is very scared.

“This attack is revenge for Noah,” said the 32-year-old man who has lived in the area since 2011 quoted from Al Jazeera.

Around four people died, including two policemen, when a Hindu religious procession at Noah organized by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal turned violent. These two Hindu right-wing organizations are allied with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

According to media reports and residents of Noah, clashes broke out after several Muslim men stopped the religious procession and threw stones during the parade. Authorities in Haryana have deployed additional troops, imposed a curfew and suspended the internet after the riots.

However, those steps have not stopped Hindu mobs from attacking Muslim-owned shops, roadside restaurants, properties and places of worship in Gurugram as well as in nearby towns such as Sohna. Shops in Sector 70A Gurugram and Sector 66 were torched on Tuesday night, while Bajrang Dal members held a rally in Haryana’s Bahadurgarh town.

They shouted hateful slogans such as “Desh ke gaddaron ko, Goli maaro saalon ko” (“Shoot the traitors of our country”). This slogan was widely used by BJP politicians against Muslims during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in 2019 to 2020.

Gurugram Police Commissioner Kala Ramachandran said several stalls were damaged in the arson.

“Prima facie [On first impression] the people we arrested were not associated with any particular group. However, investigations are still ongoing,” he said.

Haryana state Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khatta said on Wednesday, a total of 116 people had been arrested in connection with the violence there.

“The conspirators [behind the Noah clashes] are continuing to be identified,” he said..

The mosque in Gurugram was attacked allegedly by a right-wing Hindu mob.

This figure from the BJP did not comment on the murder of the mosque’s imam. “Those who are found guilty will not be pardoned. We are committed to public safety,” he said.

However, Shadab Anwar, brother of the slain imam Shadab Anwar said he did not trust the authorities. The authorities have been accused of playing a participant role in the recent violence targeting Muslims.

Anwar said he had spoken to his brother half an hour before the killing. “He called me at 11:30 p.m. saying the police were at the mosque and there was nothing to worry about,” he said.

At around 2.30am, Anwar said he was aware of the killing. “This happened in the presence of the police,” he said as he waited outside the morgue to collect the body.

Police have arrested four Hindu men from the nearby village of Tigra over the attack on the mosque.

“The attackers tried to behead him. There are several signs. He was shot, and there were also knife marks on his chest,” said Anwar.

In recent years, members of Hindu right-wing organizations have protested against Muslims holding Friday prayers in public spaces in Gurugram.

Authorities have canceled permits for most places of worship, with the Anjuman Jama mosque being one of the few remaining places of worship in the city.

About a month before he was killed, Saad posted on social media: “O Allah, please make Hindustan [India] a place where Hindus and Muslims eat from the same plate,” he said. (T/RE1/P2)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)