10 held for demolition of mosque

JAIPUR, AUG. 30. In a belated action, police have arrested 10 persons on charges of rioting, taking part in the demolition of a 16th century mosque in the Sawai Bhoj temple complex and burning down tents in the nearby Badia Dargah at Asind in Bhilwara district about a month ago.

Two FIRs have been registered in connection with these incidents on July 28. While two of the accused were arrested on Tuesday, eight others were nabbed on Wednesday. The two accused - Mangu Gurjar and Raghunath Gurjar - have been remanded to police custody and judicial custody respectively by the Judicial Magistrate's court.

The Bhilwara Superintendent of Police, Mr. Srinivas Janga Rao, told ``The Hindu'' over telephone today that the eight accused would be produced in the court later in the evening. The police crackdown on the culprits seems to have come after the Additional Sessions Judge of Gulabpura rejected anticipatory bail applications by some of the accused.

The court had earlier stayed their arrest till August 22. There were reports that the alleged assailants were roaming freely in Asind town and threatening the members of the minority community. Yet the mastermind behind the demolition episode, Mansukh Singh - who is named an accused in one of the two criminal cases - remains an enigma for the police.

Mr. Janga Rao admitted that Mansukh Singh was still absconding. ``In fact, he does not belong to Bhilwara district. We are trying our best to get him at his native place, Kota,'' he said. Mansukh Singh is the self-styled ``international president'' of a nondescript organisation, Rajesh Pilot Brigade, and had installed a statue of late Rajesh Pilot in the temple complex a few months ago.

The FIR in connection with the demolition of the mosque was registered under Sections 147 (rioting), 295-A (insulting religious beliefs) and 427 (mischief) of Indian Penal Code on a complaint lodged by Mr. Akbar Khan against a mob of 300 persons. Significantly, the offence under Section 295-A is non- bailable.

The other FIR was registered in connection with burning down of tents and other objects at the Badia Dargah, situated at a distance of one km from the Sawai Bhoj temple, during its Urs celebrations. The complaint was lodged by the Dargah's mutawalli (manager), Maulvi Ahmed Sheikh.

Meanwhile, an administrative inquiry launched into the episode has reportedly found that the settlement records of the Sawai Bhoj complex had been tampered with to wipe out the Badia Dargah from papers. The State Revenue Secretary, Mr. G.S. Sandhu, who had conducted the inquiry, has submitted his report to the State Government.