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Rising number of Islamist attacks on Hindu temples attributed to ‘mentally unstable’ assailants: A disturbing trend rooted in bigotry

A sordid trend has emerged of late where apologists of Islamist attacks against Hindu temples try to understate the seriousness of the incidents by obscuring religious bigotry that informs the psyche of the assailants by attributing it to their mental health.

In recent years, a concerning trend of attacks on Hindu temples by Islamists dubbed “mentally unstable” in the media has emerged in various parts of India. These incidents have affected regions across the country.

Notably, some of these attacks have occurred during festive seasons or close to religious Hindu processions. Additionally, these transpired without provocation, underscoring the deep-rooted hatred towards Hinduism in the minds of Islamists which is the root cause behind these attacks.

It is worth noting that in several of these cases, dedicated attempts were made to excuse their actions by labelling the attackers as mental patients.

Attack on Baba Bodheshwar temple in Unnao

In a shocking incident at Unnao’s historic Baba Bodheshwar Mahadev temple in Uttar Pradesh, an attacker identified as Javed violently attacked devotees on Friday, September 29th. Armed with a lathi, he stormed the temple during Bhadrapad Purnima, injuring eight worshippers.

This attack caught devotees off guard while they were praying to the revered Shivling. Among the injured were Milan Singh, Kailash Singh, and retired revenue officer Krishna Kumar Tiwari. As the news of the attack emerged, it was reported that Javed, the assailant, was receiving treatment for mental health issues.

Attacks on temples during the Nuh violence

On July 31, 2023, a disturbing incident unfolded in Nuh, Mewat, Haryana, as an Islamic mob launched an attack on Hindu pilgrims participating in the Jalabhishek Yatra. The rioting Muslims attacked the Nalhad Mahadev temple by rioting Muslims. As a result, numerous Hindu devotees found themselves ensnared in a hostage-like situation for an extended period.

The Shringar Temple, located about 45 minutes away from the Nalhad temple, was also targeted. Apart from this, another Baba Gorakhnath Kali temple of Nuh was also targeted by the mob of rioters. The priest of the Kali temple told OpIndia that on July 31, a mob of more than 500 attacked the temple. They were shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’. They had many other weapons including stones in their hands. 

According to the priest, there was a heavy stone pelting around the temple for about 2-3 hours. The entire road was covered with stones. The mob had broken the lock of the temple, but they could not enter the temple. If this was the case, they could also damage the idol of Goddess Kali and the Shivaling.

Temple desecration in Muzaffarpur

Hanuman Temple is located at Kalyani Chowk of City Police Station in Muzaffarpur. There are many temples located near each other in this locality. On Saturday, April 22, 2023, Mohammed Moiuddin forcibly entered the Hanuman temple wearing shoes and stood in front of the idol with his pyjamas open. When the priest tried to stop him, he beat up the priest.

After this, he entered another temple and stood in front of the idol of the Goddess with his pyjamas open. Later, the assailant went to another nearby temple and urinated. Seeing this, the priest started shouting for help. Hearing the priest’s cries, the crowd started gathering. People reported that during such a heinous act, he was also shouting Islamic slogans.

Bihar Police said that the youth, who committed the unwanted act near the temple, is mentally challenged. The police also informed that medical certificates have also been submitted by his family.

Another case of an Islamist urinating in the temple from Meerut

A video wherein a young man is seen urinating on the Shivling in a Mahadev temple in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh went viral on social media in October 2022. The despicable incident reportedly occurred on Tuesday, October 18, 2022, in a 200-year-old ancient Mahadev temple in Rasna village, which falls under the jurisdiction of Sarurpur police station in ​​Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. The youth desecrating the Shivling was identified as Mohammad Shoiab.

Speaking about the accused, the police said that Shoaib was “mand buddhi” or mentally retarded and also a drug addict. They confirmed that he was intoxicated at the time he entered the temple premises and peed on the Shivling.

Hanuman temple desecrated in Ranchi

On The night of Tuesday, September 27, 2022, the idol of Bajrang Bali was damaged by breaking the lock of a temple in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand. Rameez Ahmed was caught after the CCTV investigation. The police described him as a ‘mental patient’.

On Wednesday morning, when Vicky Vishwakarma reached the Hanuman temple located on the main road in the Hind Peedhi police station area for cleaning, the lock of the temple was broken. When Vicky Vishwakarma went inside, he saw that the nose, forehead and mace of the Hanuman idol installed in the temple were broken.

Locals did not agree with the police’s claim that Rameez was a mental patient. Speaking to Aaj Tak, locals asked why the man, who the police claimed to be a mental patient, had targeted the idol except for the silver crown and donation box money. Another local claimed that on the night when the idol was vandalised, they were discussing Durga Puja. During this time, some people tried to provoke them by raising religious slogans.

Islamist women attacked a Durga Puja pandal in Hyderabad

Two Muslim women vandalised an idol of Goddess Durga in Hyderabad’s Khairatabad area on Tuesday, September 27, 2022. Before this, they also tried to break the idol of Mother Mary outside a church. They broke these idols using a spanner. Strangely, these women were also termed mentally unstable.

When the two women were vandalising the idols a man tried to stop them. These women then attacked the man. However, seeing the radical attitude of the women, the locals gathered and caught them. People informed the police and handed these women over to the police.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) of The Central Zone of Hyderabad said, “These two women live with their parents. They are mentally ill. They returned from Jeddah in 2018 and have been facing it ever since. They also have a brother who lives together.”

Their brother Aseemuddin said, “I haven’t met my sisters yet, but I’ve heard what has happened, so I didn’t come forward. My mother and sisters have schizophrenia and my brother has paranoid schizophrenia. However, he has never done such an act. I beg my pardon. He is undergoing treatment in the hospital, so I have to take care of him.”

An IIT-educated Islamist attacked the Gorakhnath temple in Gorakhpur

On April 3, 2022, Ahmad Murtaza Abbasi attacked police personnel outside Gorakhnath Temple, Gorakhpur. The incident took place a day before CM Yogi Adityanath was scheduled to visit the temple. Abbasi severely injured two Police personnel with a sharp weapon. This Ahmad Murtaza Abbasi had completed a degree course in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai.

Days after the attack, one Maulana Ilyasi told the police that the accused was under the influence of black magic. Maulana Ilyasi is a teacher in the same Madarsa that Ahmad Murtaza Abbasi attended. Ahmad Murtaza Abbasi’s father had claimed that he was mentally unstable – a claim that the doctors refuted. On Monday, January 30, 2023, a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court awarded the death penalty to Ahmad Murtaza Abbasi, for the attack

The Temple of Goddess Kali vandalised by Islamists in Tripura

On Friday 29th October 2021, a Hindu Kali temple was attacked by a Muslim mob in Kailashahar in the Unakoti district of Tripura. As per reports, a large Muslim mob ambushed the Kali temple at around 4 pm in the afternoon. They broke the idol and vandalised the temple. 

Allah and 786 written on the walls of a temple in Tamil Nadu

In yet another attack on Hindu temples in Tamil Nadu, the rock-cut mountain temples on top of Aththri Hills in Alvarkurichi in Tirunelveli district were vandalised by Islamists. The incident was reported on 28th July 2021. The rocks surrounding the Hindu temples on Aththri hills were desecrated allegedly by Muslims, who painted the Islamic symbol “crescent moon” on the sacred rocks. The culprits also wrote “Allah”, along with an Islamic symbol and the number 786, atop the hill.

A preplanned attack on a temple in Kannauj

On Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, Dilshad along with his accomplice Umar attacked a Hindu temple situated in Chhibramau, Kannauj district. While Dilshad managed to flee, the devotees and the priest of the temple caught hold of Umar Farooq and handed him over to the police. Dilshad was later arrested by the police.

During the investigation, Umar who is a resident of the Birtiya Mohalla revealed that he and other abettors were sent to attack the temple on someone’s instructions but refused to divulge the name. 

As per reports, devotees visited the Vijaynath temple at around 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning when they saw Dilshad and co-conspirators chant inflammatory slogans and desecrate Hindu idols. A large crowd gathered around the temple which houses a Shivling, Hanuman and a Devi idol on receiving the news of the desecration.

Putting condoms in the donation boxes of the temple

On 1st April 2021, Raheem (32) and Taufiq (35) were arrested from the Jokatte area in Mangalore. The arrest came in connection to an incident where a condom was found in a temple’s Hundi (Donation box) in Manguluru. The temple belonged to the local Manguluru deity Lord Koragajja who is seen as an avatar for Lord Shiva.

Addressing a press meet, police commissioner N Shashi Kumar said that in the last three months prior to this arrest, five cases were registered at Ullal, Kadri, and Pandeshwar police stations over miscreants dropping objectionable items into the offering boxes of temples, including a condom at the Koragajja Katte temple. However, the police were not able to track down the culprits behind the desecration of the temples.

But suddenly after some time, the duo Raheem and Taufiq started going to the temple in order to pray for forgiveness from the priests. Initially, the priests thought the duo was making fun, but finally, they confessed their heinous crime at the temple and surrendered themselves to the people there who later turned them over to the police. 

The reason why both Raheem and Taufiq were so scared that they went back to the temple to confess, was because the third and the main culprit, Nawaz, who had put the condom in the Hundi box in the first place, had died under mysterious circumstances. Soon after his crime, Nawaz started acting insane, which then turned into blood vomiting and dysentery. Finally, Nawaz died by banging his own head on a wall, his last words being that Lord Koragajja is angry with the culprits.

After the death of Nawaz, Taufiq also started suffering from similar symptoms like vomiting blood. This scared them so badly that they decided that they would be saved only if they confessed and sought forgiveness for their crime.

Trespassing at the Dasna temple

In March 2021, a Muslim boy named Asif was allegedly thrashed for trespassing a Hindu temple on the pretext of drinking water in the Dasna area of ​​Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh. Shringi Yadav, who was arrested and later granted bail in connection with the alleged assault on the ‘minor’ Muslim youth Asif, put out the chain of events that transpired in March 2021 inside the Dasna temple in Ghaziabad that has fuelled a massive controversy across the country.

Shringi Yadav dismissed the claims that the Muslim boy was targeted inside the temple for drinking water. He said that Asif was caught urinating on the Shivling inside the Dasna Devi temple and added the claims of Muslim youth entering the premises to drink water are not true. Narrating the incident, Yadav said that Asif had entered the temple with another Muslim youth. He noticed that Asif was urinating on the Shivling and confronted him.

Shringi Yadav said that two Muslim youths – Asif and his friend were present inside the temple premises on the day of the incident. The other youth, who had accompanied Asif, was seen wearing a skull cap and was behaving indecently in the presence of a few Hindu women visiting the temple. Yadav said the youth with the skull cap unzipped his pants in front of the women devotees visiting the temple. As Yadav and others confronted them, the two youths ran away.

Responding to the allegations that the boy Asif was allegedly thrashed for drinking water inside the temple premises, Shringi Yadav rejected the allegations saying that the Muslim youths have a history of harassing Hindu women visiting the temple.

Loots and thefts in the temples in Karnataka

In February 2021, the Mangalore police arrested two Muslim youths for robbing a series of Hindu temples in the Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka. According to the reports, the two accused, 19-year-old Mohammed Suhail and 21-year-old Nizamuddin, were nabbed by the police outside Mangalore city. The arrested youths were the residents of Talapady.

Mangalore police commissioner Shashi Kumar said that Konaje Police Station staff examined the CCTV footage on January 26, 2021, and found out that two persons were moving suspiciously near the temple premises. Subsequently, both of them were arrested and interrogated.

During the interrogation, the accused confessed to robbing the temples and breaking open the donation boxes at Arasu Mundithaya Temple, Malar in 2020 and at another temple at Madur on the morning of January 15, 2021. They also confessed to the theft at Ayyappa Swamy Temple Seva Counter at Deralakatte. The accused also confessed that they were responsible for desecrating the saffron flag at Gopalakrishna Temple, Perande.

Islamists looted a temple in Maharashtra

On 5th February 2021, 25-year-old Sharif Shafiful Shaikh and 28-year-old Mohammad Hussain Yasin Mulla from Kharghar in neighbouring Navi Mumbai looted a temple at Pimpri in the Thane district. The police had recovered around 30 CCTV footage installed in the neighbouring areas. Based on the CCTV footage, the police arrested the two on 10th February for looting cash and ornaments worth Rs 50,000.

Conclusion

From the above discussion, it is clear that attacks on temples by Islamists have become a repetitive phenomenon in all parts of the country. The hatred for Hinduism, Hindu people, and Hindu deities in the minds of these Islamists is so deep-rooted that the attackers include poor uneducated Islamists as well as IIT-educated engineers. Moreover, attempts are made to shield their acts by calling them mental patients. In reality, their acts are hate crimes against Hindus. Hindus need to be vigilant of such attacks in order to prevent any mishaps and raise their voice for strict action against such attacks.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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