The 26-year-old Imam of a mosque in Gurugram was killed when an armed mob attacked the shrine in the early hours of Tuesday, exacerbating communal clashes in parts of southern Haryana that have left five people dead, according to Chief Minister Manohar Lal. As many as 60 people have been injured and 44 First Information Reports registered so far, as the clashes spread to three districts.
After a meeting with senior officials in Chandigarh, the Chief Minister said that Monday afternoon’s attack on the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Brij Mandal Jalabhishek Yatra, which sparked the clashes, was “unfortunate”, and seemed to be part of a larger conspiracy. He said that five people, including two policemen, were killed in the violence, and 70 persons were taken into custody.
Besides Nuh, the epicentre of the violence which broke out during the yatra, the communal clashes spread to parts of Gurugram and Palwal as well, by late Monday night.
Around midnight, a mob attacked the Anjuman Jama Masjid in Gurugram’s Sector 57 and set the shrine ablaze. Imam Mohammad Saad, 26, was killed, and Khursheed, a staff member at the mosque, sustained serious injuries. “There were five people inside the mosque at the time of attack. While two were attacked, the rest hid inside the building and managed to escape,” said Altaf Ahmad, co-founder of the Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch, terming it “unthinkable” and “shocking” that the mob had attacked a shrine in the heart of the Millennium City.
The attackers have been identified and several of them were rounded-up, according to Nitish Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner of Police, East. He added that security around the shrines has been tightened, and the internet services suspended in Sohna, Pataudi and Manesar areas.
A few hours after the violence in Nuh, a mosque was vandalised in Gurugram’s Sohna, while a mob set five cars, an auto-rickshaw, a shop, and four kiosks ablaze in the area at around 6 p.m. on Monday evening. The police resorted to mild force to bring the situation under control. In sporadic incidents of arson, some scrap shops were torched in Sector 67 and Badshahpur in Gurugram on Tuesday. Local residents also staged a demonstration in Badshahpur in protest against the attack on the procession in Nuh.
Gurugram Deputy Commissioner Nishant Yadav held peace committee meetings with both communities in Sohna on Tuesday, as an uneasy calm prevailed in the area. Mr. Yadav allowed the market to reopen after an assurance from both communities that they would maintain peace. He also allowed the opening of educational institutes in Gurugram, except in Sohna.
No fresh incident of violence was reported in Nuh on Tuesday, according to Mamta Singh, the Additional Director General of Police, Law and Order. Three people, including two Home guards, were killed in Nuh on Monday and sixty were injured, including three with serious injuries. Sixteen FIRs were registered in connection with the violence, according to Narendra Bijarniya, Superintendent of Police, Nuh. Twenty companies each of Haryana Police and Central Armed Police Forces were deployed in the district.