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I am Pankaj Tiwari, ‘Allah Kasam’ I was not pelting stones: Gorakhpur riots after Friday Namaz were pre-planned, suggests report

Reports say that anti-CAA riots were planned and organised by non-locals via calls and WhatsApp messages. Stones and bricks were also allegedly gathered before Friday Namaz.

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UP had seen large scale violent riots by Muslim mobs over the CAA and NRC. In the past few days, the UP government has been using CCTV and drone footage to identify and arrest stone pelters, arsonists and violent rioters who had damaged public property.

Several media and social media reports have surfaced which show that in many instances, the mob had no idea why exactly they were protesting or what is their issue with CAA or NRC. Intelligence sources have already mentioned earlier that they suspect the hand of pro-Islamist, separatist and jihadi elements behind inciting the riots in several parts of the country.

As per a report in Dainik Jagran’s Gorakhpur edition, as the violent rioters started wreaking havoc after the Friday prayers in Mosques, the police had detained a man for stone-pelting. The man claimed to the police that his name was ‘Pankaj Tiwari’.

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Report in Jagran

When the police asked the man his father’s name, he reportedly thought for some time and replied it is ‘Gauri Tiwari’. Finding his replies suspicious, when the police officials mentioned sternly that he was seen pelting stones by an on-duty policeman, the suspect replied, “Allah Kasam(by the name of Allah), I was not pelting stones”.

As per reports, the Gorakhpur violence is suspected to have been incited with ‘outsider influence’. Media reports mention citing police sources that from Friday morning, several groups of young men were active in the Shahmaruf area. They first forced the shops to close then decided to offer Namaz with black arm-bands. The police teams were keeping a close watch on such groups. Some young men were also seen distributing black arm-bands and tying them to people.

Read: UP police arrest PFI’s Uttar Pradesh head Waseem for allegedly masterminding violence during anti-CAA protests

The ground team had reported to police officers that some non-local elements are inciting local Muslims to organise violent protests. Police had decided that they will approach the men and conduct enquiries after the Friday Namaz in Mosques.

The Jagran report states that the police teams were taking swift action after the Friday riots. They had detained any person they deemed suspicious and had taken them to police stations. After scanning area-wise CCTV footage, if any persons amongst the detainees were found not to have been involved, they were being released and suspected individuals were detained. Over 24 people were released from a group of over 50.

Police investigation has revealed that some WhatsApp groups were inciting local Muslims and were also making personal calls to fan violence. Police have also found that local Muslims had collected and gathered stones and bricks for violence after the Namaz. Police are also scanning through mobile network details to determine the numbers which were actively making calls and sending messages before and during the riots to incite violence.

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