Members of a right wing group called Devbhoomi Raksha Abhiyaan demolished two mazars (tomb shrines) in Rishikesh town and allegedly broadcast their act live on social media last week. The Uttarakhand Police lodged a First Information Report (FIR) against unknown persons for hurting the religious sentiments of people after the video surfaced and went viral. No arrest has been made in the matter so far as the police are still in the process of identifying the accused, who are visible in the video.
In the videos, available on Facebook and widely shared on X (formerly Twitter), members of the right wing group chanted ‘Jai Shree Ram’ before hammering the walls of a mazar erected in the backyard of a Hindu man. They deployed construction machinery to demolish the structure, and issued threats that they would raze more religious structures of the Muslim community.
Jagat Singh, in-charge of Shyampur police post, under whose jurisdiction the mazar falls, told The Hindu that the police has filed a suo motu complaint against unknown persons for promoting enmity between communities and hurting religious sentiments as the video of the demolition had gone viral on social media.
“The owners of the land on which these mazars are situated told us that they had constructed these structures of their own will. These mazars were not encroachments,” Mr. Singh said.
Devbhoomi Raksha Abhiyaan is the organisation that in June had pasted posters threatening Muslims to move out of Uttarkashi’s Purola after an inter-faith couple’s bid to elope. After the incident, several Muslim families left the town, following which the Uttarakhand High Court asked the BJP-led State government to maintain law and order, and peace between the communities here.
Darshan Bharti, founder of Devbhoomi Raksha Abhiyaan, who has claimed responsibility for the incident, said that the organisation has identified 25 more mazars built inside or on lands owned by Hindus, and that his associates would demolish all of them in the days to come.