Gurugram, India – The Anjuman Jama mosque in Gurugram’s Sector 57 is abandoned. About 10 law enforcement officials stand in entrance of the concrete construction, which may host as much as 450 worshippers however is now a mound of particles and ashes.

The mosque – one of many few locations for Muslim worship in Gurugram, a predominantly Hindu suburb of India’s capital, New Delhi – got here beneath assault on the night time of July 31, allegedly by a Hindu far-right mob.

The assailants set the mosque ablaze and killed Mohammad Saad, a 22-year-old naib (deputy) imam who was inside on the time. The assault happened hours after lethal communal violence erupted within the neighbouring Nuh district in Haryana state.

Mohammad Faheem Kazmi, an inside designer who commonly prays on the torched mosque, stated he was horrified.

“This assault was revenge for Nuh,” the 32-year-old, who has lived within the space since 2011, informed Al Jazeera.

A minimum of 4 individuals had been killed, together with two policemen, when a Hindu non secular procession in Nuh that was organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal, two Hindu far-right organisations aligned with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Social gathering (BJP), turned violent.

Based on media experiences and Nuh residents, clashes ensued after some Muslim males stopped the non secular procession and stones had been thrown on the march.

Authorities in Haryana have deployed extra troops, imposed a curfew and suspended the web within the wake of the unrest. However the measures didn’t cease Hindu mobs from attacking Muslim-owned outlets, roadside eateries, properties and locations of worship in Gurugram as effectively in close by cities similar to Sohna, residents stated.

Retailers in Gurugram’s Sector 70A and Sector 66 had been torched on Tuesday night, whereas Bajrang Dal members held a rally in Haryana’s Bahadurgarh metropolis, shouting hateful slogans similar to “Desh ke gaddaron ko, Goli maro salon ko” (“Shoot the traitors of our nation”) – a chant that was extensively utilized by BJP politicians towards Muslims through the anti-Citizenship Modification Act protests in 2019 and 2020.

A Hindu mob attacked and burnt Muslim businesses in Sohna Haryana. [Md Meharban/Al Jazeera]
A Hindu mob attacked and burned Muslim companies in Sohna, Haryana [Md Meharban/Al Jazeera]

Talking concerning the violence on Tuesday, Gurugram Police Commissioner Kala Ramachandran informed Al Jazeera that “some kiosks had been broken in arson”.

“Prima facie [On the first impression] the boys we rounded up weren’t linked to any explicit group. Nonetheless, an investigation continues to be beneath approach,” she stated.

The workplaces of firms similar to Google and Deloitte are situated just some kilometres from the websites of violence in Gurugram, which has been given the moniker “millennium metropolis” for attracting multinational firms and internet hosting upmarket procuring centres.

The unrest in Haryana comes a month earlier than international leaders are attributable to arrive in New Delhi for a Group of 20 (G20) summit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not commented on the violence that got here a day after a railway safety officer killed one in all his colleagues and three Muslim passengers, in what’s seen by many as a hate crime.

In latest weeks, Modi has additionally been criticised for staying silent on the weeks-long ethnic violence that has erupted within the northeastern state of Manipur, killing greater than 130 individuals and forcing 1000’s to stay in aid camps.

Haryana state Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday stated a complete of 116 individuals had been arrested in connection to the violence there.

“The conspirators [behind the clashes in Nuh] are being constantly recognized,” he informed reporters.

Khattar, who’s from Modi’s BJP, didn’t touch upon the imam’s killing. “These discovered responsible is not going to be spared. We’re dedicated to the security of the general public,” he stated.

‘Occurred within the presence of police’

However Shadab Anwar, the elder brother of the slain imam, Mohammad Saad, stated he had little religion within the authorities, who’ve been accused of enjoying a partisan position in latest violence between Hindus and Muslims.

In 2020, police in New Delhi had been accused of both doing little about or at instances complying with violence that left 53 individuals lifeless, principally Muslims.

Anwar stated he had spoken to his brother half an hour earlier than his killing. “He known as me at 11:30pm saying the police had been on the mosque and that there’s nothing to be apprehensive about,” he informed Al Jazeera.

At about 2:30am, Anwar stated he realized of the killing. “This occurred within the presence of police,” he alleged, as he waited exterior the mortuary to gather the physique.

Shadab Anwar sits in an ambulance
Shadab Anwar sits in an ambulance carrying the physique of his slain brother, Mohammad Saad, to his hometown [Md Meharban/Al Jazeera]

Police have arrested 4 Hindu males from the close by village of Tigra over the assault on the mosque.

“The attackers tried to sever his head,” Anwar stated. “There are some marks. He was shot, and there are additionally knife marks on his chest.”

His statements couldn’t be independently verified.

Imran Qureshi, 43, who lives 100 metres (328 toes) away from the mosque, stated he heard six gunshots at about 12:10am. “There was a mob of about 70 individuals exterior the mosque, shouting slogans. I received scared,” he stated, including that he deliberate to relocate to a Muslim-majority space for security.

Gurugram Police Commissioner Ramachandran informed Al Jazeera the assault was carried out by an “armed mob”.

“Safety has been strengthened round mosques,” she stated. “We now have met members of each communities and requested for restraint and cooperation.”

Lately, members of Hindu far-right organisations have been protesting towards Muslims providing Friday prayers in public areas in Gurugram. Authorities have cancelled permits for many of the prayer websites, with the Anjuman Jama mosque being one of many few remaining locations of worship left within the metropolis.

A few month earlier than he was killed, Saad had posted on social media: “Oh Allah, please make Hindustan [India] a spot the place Hindus and Muslims eat from the identical plate.”

How the violence unfolded in Sohna

In Sohna city, practically 30km (18.6 miles) south of the Anjuman Jama mosque, a stretch of retailers belonging to Muslims within the city’s major street lay charred following the violence there on July 31.

Close by, home windows of properties had been damaged, automobiles burned and the streets affected by stones and bricks.

“The mob noticed the names on the hoardings exterior the outlets and burned solely these belonging to Muslims,” claimed Azad Khan, 47, a resident whose residence was additionally pelted with stones.

Residents stated a Hindu right-wing mob armed with pistols and rods had gathered within the space, which is residence to some 200-250 Muslim households, at about 3:30pm that day.

“They had been shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ [Hail Lord Ram] and saying ‘Jab mulle kate jayenge, Ram Ram chillayenge [Muslims will be slaughtered in the name of Ram],” Khan informed Al Jazeera.

Jai Shri Ram has emerged as a conflict cry by Hindu far-right teams, who’ve been accused of lynching dozens of Muslims on the suspicion of cow smuggling since Modi got here to energy in 2014.

“I’ve 5 sons, all of whom used to promote fruits on carts throughout the road. The mob burned their carts and stole mangoes they’d simply dropped at promote,” stated resident Hamidan Begum, 60, including that the monetary injury was value tons of of {dollars}.

Within the coronary heart of Sohna city, the Shahi Jama mosque was additionally attacked.

Shamim Ahmed, 48, the mosque’s caretaker, stated a crowd of 50-60 individuals got here in with their faces lined, iron rods and firearms of their fingers.

“I took the kids into the room and locked it from the within. I turned off the sunshine and simply saved holding the door,” he stated.

The prayer corridor of the mosque was vandalised and the window panes had been damaged whereas copies of the Quran had been thrown on the ground.

Suhail Ahmed, Shamim’s son, informed Al Jazeera that he known as members of the minority Sikh group dwelling close by for assist.

“As quickly as we heard concerning the incident, we rushed to the mosque. On the time, the mob was firing. We went into the mosque to safeguard the kids and household of the imam. The mob fled,” stated Aman Singh, a 21-year-old Sikh.

Singh claimed that if the police had acted faster, the Hindu mob wouldn’t have vandalised the mosque. A police squad has now been stationed there for defense.

Some 500 metres (1,640 toes) away from Shahi Jama mosque, two different mosques had been additionally burned down by the Hindu mob on the identical night time, residents stated.

“The one work left for Muslim activists in India is to depend lifeless our bodies, to crowdfund for rebuilding shattered and burned homes, to gather donations for employment for individuals who have been injured and to plead the police to file FIRs [police complaints],” stated Sharjeel Usmani, a Muslim activist primarily based in New Delhi.

Muslims of Nuh in concern

About 25km (15.5 miles) south of Sohna, residents in Nuh stated they had been afraid they could be focused for the latest violence between Hindus and Muslims, which noticed widespread injury to properties and automobiles.

Roads within the district have largely been abandoned because the July 31 occasions, with solely police jeeps patrolling.

Glass shards scattered on the prayer floor of Shahi Jama Masjid
Glass shards lay scattered on the prayer ground of Shahi Jama mosque in Sohna, Haryana after a Hindu mob vandalised the mosque [Md Meharban/Al Jazeera]

Residents in Muradbas village stated the police arrested about 17 Muslim males in reference to the violence.

Wakeel Sheikh, 49, stated two of his nephews, Salim, 32, and Sajid, 26, had been arrested in an early morning raid on August 1.

“They haven’t allowed us to fulfill our kids,” he informed Al Jazeera.

Sheikh stated his nephews had been each at residence when the violence erupted. “They don’t have a prison historical past,” he stated.

Residents within the neighbouring village of Malab shared related tales.

Shahid Hussain, 32, a lawyer by career, claimed that police had been arresting younger Muslim males and falsely accusing them of violence.

“Immediately, two younger males from my village had been arrested. Everyone seems to be terrified. Nobody is leaving their properties for concern of being arrested by the police,” he stated.

“They need to be arresting Monu Manesar, however as a substitute they’re arresting harmless Muslims,” he added, referring to a BD chief and cow vigilante who was accused of kidnapping, lynching, after which setting ablaze two Muslim males in Haryana in February.

Nuh Superintendent of Police Varun Singla didn’t reply to a number of requests for remark from Al Jazeera by way of telephone and textual content relating to the allegations of arbitrary arrests of Muslims.

A complete of 41 FIRs have been registered in numerous police stations, in accordance with the police.

Who’s Monu Manesar?

The violence in Nuh erupted in response to rumours concerning the presence of Manesar within the district.

A video posted on social media earlier than the clashes confirmed Manesar saying he would take part within the “Shobha Yatra” (procession) in Nuh and asking individuals to affix in large numbers.

However the VHP, which has thrown its weight behind Manesar, denied he had attended the July 31 rally.

“Monu [Manesar] was not on the yatra, nor was he going to come back, and he didn’t even put out any video assertion about this yatra,” Vinod Bansal, nationwide spokesperson of the VHP, informed Al Jazeera.

“That is faux propaganda,” he stated, describing it as an try by Muslims “to incite violence”.

Bansal stated the VHP needed to organise the procession peacefully and that the assault on members was pre-planned.

Some 60 vehicles and a bus parked exterior Nalhar Mahadev temple, situated roughly 7km (4 miles) from Nuh city, had been burned by a mob of two,000-2,500 Muslims on July 31. Deepak Sharma, the priest on the temple, informed Al Jazeera that the temple itself had not been attacked

Movies posted on-line earlier than and after the assault present members of Hindu far-right teams giving hate speeches towards Muslims.

“Mewat is a Hindu land, has all the time been a Hindu land, and can all the time be a Hindu land,” Surendra Jain, of the VHP, is heard saying in one of many movies, referring to Muslim-dominated Nuh as Mewat.

The main entrance to the Nalhar Mahadev Mandir
The principle entrance to the Nalhar Mahadev temple in Nuh, Haryana, the place tons of of Hindu yatris (pilgrims) sought refuge throughout communal clashes [Md Meharban/Al Jazeera]

Following the violence close to the temple, Bajrang Dal chief Neeraj Vats went stay on Fb, telling individuals to focus on Muslims in different elements of the state. “You can assault us in Nuh, however you additionally stay in different cities,” he stated.

On Wednesday, Hindu far-right teams held rallies in a number of elements of India’s capital.

An area legislator representing Nuh, Aftab Ahmed, described the violence within the district as a failure on the a part of the authorities to include the state of affairs.

“We’re interesting to individuals to keep up peace and never pay heed to rumours. The state of affairs is unlucky. I’ve by no means seen such failure of administration and police,” Ahmed stated.

Again in Sohna, Begum’s neighbours suggested her to go away city for some time till calm returned.

“The place will I am going?” she requested. “They may come for Muslims in all places.”

Arbab Ali is an unbiased reporter primarily based in New Delhi, India.


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