July 13, 2006

VHP, Bajrang Dal men ransack Surat mosque

(The Times of India)

VHP, Bajrang Dal men ransack Surat mosque
[ 13 Jul, 2006 2331hrs IST TIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

SURAT: VHP and Bajrang Dal men went on a rampage in a mosque in a sensitive area of the city on Thursday, ostensibly to protest against the terror attacks in Mumbai.

VHP and Bajrang Dal attacked the mosque at 5.30 pm. Activists of right-wing groups, who tapping the sense of outrage in this diamond centre over the death of several of its residents in Mumbai, entered the mosque and broke tubelights in the prayer area.

Angry mobs also tried to snatch the mike from the muezzin as he tried to call Muslims for prayers. Earlier, VHP men gathered outside the mosque had demanded over a blaring mobile public address system that the mosque administration not use loudspeakers during azaan as it was hindering their meeting. Some mobsters in the mosque also tried to blow the fuse at the power mains to disrupt electricity supply.

Police claim the situation is under control as no one had turned up at the mosque and there evening namaaz was yet to start. "We were concerned as the area is sensitive and such incidents can lead to trouble.

As a precaution, we have placed a police checkpost and are trying to identify culprits," said DCP (Zone-3) V Chandarshekhar.

Police said a few meteres away in Rustampura, BJP had also burnt an effigy of the Student's Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

VHP spokesperson Utkarsh Patel claimed, "We had requested the mosque authorities to tone down their loudspeakers, but they refused.

It was when they resorted to stone pelting that some of our members ransacked their place." Asked whether VHP had taken police permission, Patel said, "We do not take permission in such cases."