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Mathura temple-mosque row: Hindu Mahasabha leader arrested, 40 detained

MATHURA: An Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha leader was arrested on Tuesday while allegedly going to recite Hanuman Chalisa at the Shahi Masjid Idgah adjacent to the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi temple and 40 Hindutva activists taken into preventive custody, officials said.

They said seven-eight other leaders of the organisation were also detained in their houses under different police stations of the city.

The Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha had given a call for reciting Hanuman Chalisa inside the Shahi Masjid Idgah to mark the 30th anniversary of the Babri Mosque demolition.

“Not a single member of the organisation could reach near Idgah as per their programme. As a preventive measure about 40 persons were taken into custody. They would be released on personal bond after completing the formality,” Senior Superintendent of Police Shailesh Pandey said.

Additional Superintendent of Police (City) Martandey Singh said police arrested the Mahasabha’s Agra region in-charge Saurabh Sharma when he was making an attempt to go towards the Idgah mosque in the complex.

He said the Mahasabha’s president Rajshri Chaudhary and treasurer Dinesh Sharma were not among those confined at their homes, and police had no information about the duo.

Chaudhary claimed that she was in Mathura on Tuesday and a picture of her standing at gate number 1 of the Janmabhoomi complex was shared by the Mahasabha.

However, Singh disputed the claim saying, “This is an old picture which is being used for making false claims”.

National Vice-President of the Mahasabha, Anil Tripathi, told PTI over phone that he has been kept under house arrest at his residence in Delhi.

The officer said in view of the situation in Mathura, prohibitory orders were imposed by the district administration and those who tried to disturb peace were being interrogated after being taken into custody.

Seven of these people belong to the Hindu Mahasabha, who are currently kept at the city police station, he said.

Singh said security had been beefed up in view of the right wing organisation’s declaration of reciting Hanuman Chalisa at the Idgah on Tuesday.

District Magistrate Pulkit Khare had taken stock of security arrangements in the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Idgah complex on Monday night.

The Babri mosque in Ayodhya was demolished by ‘Kar Sevaks’ on December 6, 1992.

Earlier, Pandey had warned that the law and order situation in the city would not be allowed to be disturbed and a strict watch was being kept on social media too.

The SSP had said on Monday that no new tradition or ritual would be allowed to be performed.

The orders of the Supreme Court would be followed and the implementation of prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in letter and spirit would be ensured, he said.

The organisation had given a similar call last year but their plan was scuttled by the district administration.


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