Supporters of the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari, assaulted a journalist of an Urdu daily here on Thursday for asking a question on the Allahabad High Court verdict and the Babri Masjid title suits.
At Gomti Hotel, the venue of the press conference, the Imam was upset as the journalist, Mohammed Abdul Waheed Chisti, of Dastaan-e-Awadh, pressed for an answer. His supporters chased the journalist, hurled expletives at him and assaulted him in the presence of other scribes. Even as the Imam's security personnel tried to pacify him, he moved towards Mr. Chisti.
The Imam accused the journalist of being a “Congress agent” who “had been planted at the press conference” and dubbed him a “traitor” to the “Muslim cause.”
After Mr. Chisti asked the question, the Imam asked him to leave the venue. The atmosphere was surcharged.
The Imam and his followers left the venue after the customary tea, but returned within minutes, this time to take on Mr. Chisti, who received a few blows.
The other journalists and the policemen intervened and restored order.
Mr. Chisti lodged a First Information Report against the Imam with the Hazratganj police, saying that there was a threat to his life. Before that, he told journalists that he belonged to the Barelvi sect of Sunni Muslims and wanted the dispute resolved through talks.
At the press conference, the Imam said the Allahabad High Court verdict was unacceptable to the Muslims as it was based on “faith” and “belief.”
He supported the Sunni Central Waqf Board's move to go in appeal to the Supreme Court.
The Imam said an out-of-court settlement was not possible, and the issue ought to be settled in court.
He alleged that it was a Congress-sponsored conspiracy to deter the Muslims from approaching the court, and instead opt for reconciliation.
Keywords: Ayodhya issue