A massive controversy was kicked up on Monday after pictures of two men offering namaz in a Mathura temple surfaced on the internet. A case was registered against the two men, identified as Faisal Khan and Mohammad Chand. Now, it has been revealed that Faisal Khan had also participated in anti-CAA protests in Shaheen Bagh and several other protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill in several places in the country.
Khan has been the founder of Khudai Khidmatgar, an organisation which is based out of Delhi and which had participated in many anti-CAA protests around the country, fuelling misguided apprehensions about the new law, even after repeated clarifications issued by the Government of India.
PFI links of Faisal Khan and Mohammed Chand
Earlier, it was also revealed that the Facebook ID that posted the contentious pictures of the duo offering namaz in Mathura temple was a vocal advocate of the four radical Islamists from People’s Front of India (PFI), who were apprehended on their way to Hathras. The case was taken up by Barsana police station before being transferred to the Intelligence Department. A probe has been initiated for determining the motives behind the act and making the picture viral on social media.
Mathura temple namaz row
On October 29, the duo had offered namaz at the Nand Baba Mandir in Mathura. As per reports, the case was filed, following a complaint by the temple server Kanha Goswami against Faisal Khan and Mohammed Chand, who had reportedly done the ’84 kos’ yatra to reach the temple by bicycles. They were accompanied by two other ‘Gandhian activists’, namely, Nilesh Gupta and Alok Ratna.
The photos of the two individuals offering namaz in the temple premises had instantly gone viral on the social media, after which many people started expressing their displeasure over their actions. A complaint was filed after a photo of the duo, reciting Islamic prayers within a Hindu temple, went viral on social media.
The Uttar Pradesh police had lodged a case against two individuals for reading Namaz (Islamic prayers) within the premises of Nandmahal temple in Nandgaon area in Mathura district’s Barsana on Saturday (October 29). Faizal Khan was nabbed near Jamia Gaffar Manzil on Monday. The other accused – Mohammad Chand – is yet to be arrested by the police. Chand and Khan have been booked under Sections 153-A, 295, and 505 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Anti-CAA protests in different parts of the country
Following the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act in December 2019, widespread protests took place in different parts of the country opposing the provisions of the Act that sought to grant citizenship to non-Muslim migrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi communities who came to the country from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014. Violence, arson and vandalism was a distinctive feature of the anti-CAA protests that took place after the enactment of the law and culminated into the deadly riots in Delhi in February 2020.
A roadblock was organised by the detractors at Shaheen Bagh, blocking one of the busiest thoroughfares in Delhi, causing grave inconvenience to the passers-by and daily commuters. The protesters at Shaheen Bagh demanded the repealing of the Citizenship Amendment Act which they claimed was discriminating against the Muslims. One of the organisers of Shaheen Bagh protest, Sharjeel Imam, was later arrested for his seditious speech, whipping up anti-India feelings among Muslims and asking them to cut-off Assam and the northeast from the rest of the country.
The organisers and protesters at Shaheen Bagh continued to fan Muslim fears that the Citizenship Amendment Act would disenfranchise Indian Muslims, despite the clarification issued by Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah that the new amended law, in no way, affects the existing citizens of the country and is meant for the persecuted minorities from the three neighbouring countries.