UP: Muslim families living near Gorakhnath temple asked to vacate homes

Several Muslim families in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur have been reportedly asked by the administrations to vacate their homes citing the security of Gorakhnath Temple.

According to local reports, the families were asked to sign a ‘letter of consent’ stating that they agreed to hand over their homes or land to the government. In addition, the letter added that the move was to make the temple premises safe.

As per media reports, about eleven Muslim families live near the southeast side of Gorakhnath temple and nine of them have already signed these letters of consent due to pressure from Hindu extremists.

Meanwhile, if any Muslim refuses to sign the permit, various methods are used to pressure them.

“Officials told us that if we don’t sign the letter, they have other ways to get our signatures as well. We’ve been pressured,” Javaid Akhtar, 71, a local Muslim, told Al-Jazeera.

Incidentally, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is the ‘mahant’ or chief priest of the Gorakhnath temple.

Gorakhpur DM K Vijayendra Pandian on Wednesday allegedly threatened a Delhi-based journalist with imprisonment under the National Security Agency after he summoned Pandian to take an official version of a story relating to the alleged ‘forced eviction’ of 11 Muslim families.

Masihuzzama Ansari, who works with a news portal Indiatomorrow.in, told the National Herald that Pandian inquired about his religion, then threatened him with a “humiliating tone” by slapping the NSA “to stir up hostility between the two communities”.

Reacting to it, the chairman of the minority department of the opposition Congress party in Uttar Pradesh, Shahnawaz Alam, said, “Instead of acting against officials, the state government is threatening these journalists with indictment under the National Security Act (NSA).”

“Press is the fourth pillar of democracy. Media’s job is to question the government and the government’s job is to answer the media and the people. Under the BJP government, no one is secure, be it a common man or a journalist. How will democracy survive if an elected government continues to work like this?” Alam said.