Police in India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh arrested seven people Thursday for allegedly throwing pieces of pork, letters abusing Muslims and torn pages of an Islamic text at three mosques and a shrine in an attempt to instigate communal violence.
They said in a statement that the incidents took place in the town of Ayodhya and members of a right-wing outfit called Hindu Yodha Sangathan were involved.
Four First Information Reports (FIRs) were registered in the incidents, which took place at the Taatshah Jama Masjid, Ghosiyana mosque, Kashmiri Mohalla mosque and a shrine of Gulab Shah Baba.
“It was an attempt to create communal violence and incite riots in Ayodhya town," the statement said.
The mastermind of the conspiracy has been identified as Mahesh Mishra.
An police investigation has revealed that Mishra and his close associates were angry over the communal violence that took place in New Delhi’s Jahangirpuri area on April 16 and they wanted to take revenge.
Senior Superintendent of Police Shailesh Pandey said 11 people were involved in the latest mosque incidents and four of them are absconding.
The police statement also said they had purchased skull caps, two copies of the Quran, pork and writing materials in order to instigate communal violence.
"The honorable court has directed maintaining the status quo on the site,” he said.
Local television channels also showed that a structure attached to a mosque was razed in the area.
On April 16, several people, including police officers, were injured when clashes erupted in Jahangirpuri during a Hindu religious procession. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleged that Muslims were involved in pelting stones at the procession.
At least 20 people were arrested following the violence.
Responding to the calls of BJP leaders in the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, authorities began a “selective” demolition drive in the locality. Bulldozers demolished a string of shops on the roadside in the predominately Muslim Jahangirpuri locality.
As the drive was proceeding in the presence of a large squad of police and paramilitary personnel, the Indian Supreme Court ordered a stay on the demolitions.
India has been witnessing a systematic campaign against Muslims in the last few months, with Hindu mobs organizing processions in Muslim localities and brandishing swords and threatening to kill community members.
However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has remained silent over the issue. A group of 108 former Indian bureaucrats this week wrote to Modi to express concern over the “escalation of violence against minority communities, particularly Muslims across several BJP-ruled states” which poses a threat to the constitutional edifice as the state governments appear to be fully complicit in the state of affairs./aa