By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani, MM News,
Ahmedabad: Close on the heels of a “diktat” issued by Hindu outfit barring entry of Muslims at Garba events during the upcoming Navratri festival in Gujarat’ to prevent “love jihad” incidents, tension was seen in Navsari District as a masjid was attacked by some unidentified persons last night.
Security has been tightened at Surkhai, a remote village in Navsari’s Chikhli taluka, after unidentified persons tried to set a mosque afire, police said Wednesday. According to a complaint filed by Surkhai resident Ilyas Shaikh, unidentified persons tried to set the mosque ablaze from outside on Wednesday night, but the fire was immediately doused by villagers after a cleric raised alarm.
Three parts of the mosque, including the outer wall, were set ablaze, stated the complaint registered with Rankuva police outpost. Chikhli police inspector D K Patel, who reached the spot with additional police force, found empty water bottles, probably used to carry petrol to the spot. Police also held a meeting with both Hindu and Muslim communities at the village, and requested people to maintain peace and communal harmony
Patel said: “After talking to the Hindus and the Muslims, we have found that there is communal harmony in the village. No clash took place after the incident, but still we have deployed policemen in the village. We have also asked for CCTV recordings from the nearest petrol pump. We have recovered empty water bottles in which the accused may have brought petrol. According to the mosque cleric, he saw three youths fleeing on a bike late in the night after the incident.”
Talking to The Indian Express, complainant Ilyas Shaikh said: “There are around 2,500 people belonging to the Rajput, the Tandel, the Koli Patel and the Dodhiya Patel (tribal) communities in the village, but this is the first such incident of an attack on a place of worship. There are around 20 houses belonging to the Muslim community in the village and we all stay here with peace and harmony. “Not a single incident of conflict between the Hindus and the Muslims has taken place in our village. We are also shocked by the incident. But villagers have assured that they will stop anyone who wants to harm the Muslims living here last year in 2014, this area was in the news during bakri eid,Muslim resident of Dabhel village in Navsari district of South Gujarat alleged police high-handedness during Eid-Ul-Azha festival and afterwards. More than five dozen persons, including women, had been arrested in an alleged attack on a police party which had picked up two elderly persons on allegations of cow slaughter on October 6 last year , the day of Bakrid. Two youths, who are students of bachelor of engineering at Akkalkuan college in neighbouring, sustained injuries from bullet fired by the police party. The youths had come to celebrate Bakrdi with their parents .Dabhel with a population of over 5,000 Muslims and 1,000 dalits, is known for a big Islamic seminary.
This year garba festival will begin on 13th October. VHP and other saffron outfits are in aggressive mood. they also announced that if a non-Hindu is caught at a garba venue during Navratri, they will be purified the `Hindu way’ (using Ganga jal, gau mutra and vermillion tilak).” The organisation has issued warning to all those planning to ‘slip in’ the garba venues despite the ban. Their volunteers will be stationed at venues across the state to see that no one ‘unwanted’ enters. But this is not it. The VHP also said that those Muslims who still want to attend garba will be given ‘the option’ to convert to Hinduism, right there at the venue!