Amidst the ongoing hate-crimes against Muslims in India, a mosque was vandalized late night in Shah Jamal area of Aligarh. The vandalized mosque was also the protest-site Aligarh residents used to protest against the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act last year till lockdown was imposed by the state government.
On 20 January, in the middle of the night, some policemen arrived at the back gate of the Purani Idgah, which is located below the Bari Chowk in Aligarh city. The policemen broke open the back gate by ramming a vehicle over it. They entered into the premises of Idgah with their shoes on, a mark of disrespect to the ethics followed in mosques.
A night watchman named Akbar, who is overlooking the masjid affairs, was sleeping inside the mosque. When he saw the police forces barging inside the mosque, he was terrified. He did not expect anyone to come to masjid this late as no one comes inside the masjid this late. He says, ‘It was late in the night around 12-12:30 am, I heard the noise outside. I woke up and saw the police breaking the back door of the masjid. They rammed the vehicle over the gate and entered into the premises. The moment they barged inside, they saw me and started abusing me. One policeman came furiously and started beating me on my head with their shoes. This last for around 15-20mins. A group of the policemen went around the Idgah, as if they were looking for someone. Then they all left the place without saying anything. I was lying there for the entire night, frozen in shock, waiting for the dawn to break.’
Later in the morning, during Fajr prayers, when people visited the mosque to offer prayers, they were blown away to see Akbar drowned in the bruises and contusion all over his face and other body parts. While Akber started narrating the whole incident to the people, they started gathering with fury. People started the protest and raised slogans. Learning about the crowd gathering at Idgah, the police force came on the spot outside Idgah within half an hour. Police came there to pacify the situation, started talking to the furious crowd but didn’t give any reasons to the nocturnal raid they conducted- beating an innocent and destroying the masjid property.
Around 7 – 8 am, the City Mufti Khalid Hameed Saheb was called by the gathered crowd to take further action, who asked the people to keep the peace, be quiet and to let him talk to the policemen. He was then summoned by the police officers aside to speak in private. City Mufti returned to the crowd and asked for an apology from the side of Station Officer and his request to the crowd to forgive the policemen with a big heart. The crowd with resentment kept the honor of City Mufti and returned to their houses. One person at site said, “Ye sheher Mufti aise hi hai, apne logon ke liye nahi khade hotey. Inko humne CAA-NRC-NPR ke protest time se hi dekha hua hai, bike huye hain aur apne logon ko bhej rahe hain.” This City Mufti is without a backbone. He does not stand for his own people. We have seen him since the protest against CAA. He is sold out and corrupted.