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Attacks On Mosques, Witch-Hunting Of Muslim Youths: Minorities Commission Issues Notices To Delhi Police

Masjid attacked in Alipur. Photo Source: The Milli Gazette

The Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) has issued two notices to the Delhi police raising issues of the witch-hunting of Muslim youths by randomly arresting them and that of a mosque attacked and burnt in Alipur in North West Delhi on Friday night reported The Milli Gazette.

Arrest of Muslim youths

The first notice sent on 3 April said that the Commission is getting reports through emails, WhatsApp messages and phone calls from the North-East district since even before the lockdown that police is arresting young Muslim boys by their dozens every single day. The Commission said earlier too it had brought this issue of arrests to the notice of the area Deputy Commissioner of Police stating that “the trend of randomly arresting young Muslim boys of the North-East district is not acceptable.”

The notice issued by the chairman of the panel, Zafar-ul Islam Khan states that there were “serious allegation made by some people of the North East district that some police officers are using arrests as a pretext to extract huge sums of money as bribes or ransom money which, if paid, will ensure the freedom of the arrested youth.”

It brought to the police’s attention, the protest lead by Muslim women of Mustafabad at 8 pm on 2 April 2020, against this activity.

It urged the Commissioner of Police to “instruct police ground staff to desist from random arrests in the North East district as arrests must only be made when there is clear evidence about someone’s involvement in a punishable crime”. The Commission said once the lockdown is lifted and conditions return to normal, “we will take a closer look at these arrests”.

Loudspeakers banned in mosques

The Commission also raised the issue of it receiving complaints that mosques are being prohibited from using loudspeakers for Azaan (call to prayers). As of now, under the current restrictions, a maximum of four persons are allowed to offer congregational prayers at a time in a mosque.

The notice said “loudspeakers are used by mosques to announce that the time of prayer has come so that people may pray at home on time as there is a prescribed time for each prayer. Hence, the prohibition of Azaan on loudspeakers has no rationale or need.”

It stated that station house officers (SHOs) should be clearly told not to insist on the prohibition of the use of loudspeakers for Azaan and should take action only if more than four persons gather for performing namaz while the current lockdown is effective.

Meat shops shut

The Commission also highlighted how “meat shops in some areas have been closed down, which is against the lockdown regime”. It said foodstuff is considered part of essentials and shops selling such stuff cannot and must not be closed.

Mosques attacked

In a second notice sent on 4 April the Commission states that the Commission has received a report and a video which says that at around 8 pm on April 3, around 200 people attacked a mosque in Mukhmelpur village under the Alipur police station in North West Delhi while there were two or three persons inside.

The notice said the mob attacked the mosque, ransacked it, burnt it partially and demolished some of its parts, including the roof. It further said that it was unbelievable that this could happen in the national capital. “The issue cannot be patched up artificially by arranging a compromise where a religious place has been ransacked and partially burnt and demolished. If no proper legal action is taken, this lawlessness will become common,” the Commission cautioned.

Directing the Commissioner to ensure that an FIR was lodged against the culprits, the Commission said the law should take its course so that a deterrent is created in the minds of people as some have started to think that they will go scot-free after committing any crime against the weaker sections of the society like Muslims, Christians, Dalits and Adivasis.

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