Such is the tension in Bisada that when Muslims assembled for the Friday namaz at the village’s sole mosque, no azaan (call to prayer) was made from the loudspeaker.
Around 1.20 pm men and boys started arriving in groups of four to five at the mosque. Some were wearing netted skull caps and some bare head.
After taking off their footwear, they performed the customary ablution and then moved to the main hall. When the Friday prayer started at 1.32 pm, the hall was just half filled.
What made Friday’s prayers in Bisada different from the ones held at the same mosque on earlier Fridays for years reflected the mood of the Muslim community in the village.
A gruesome attack by a mob on Monday night resulted in the death of 55-year-old Ikhlaq and left his 21-year-old son Danish in a critical state.
In normal days, the mosque would be packed with 70-80 men offering prayers. But on Friday, there were only 36 people in three rows in the congregation. Eight of them were the visitors from neighbouring villages who had come to mourn Ikhlaq’s death.
“There was no azaan on the loudspeaker. The attendance for the Friday prayer fell by half today than what it used to be earlier. The reason is that a large number of families had gone away after the attack on Ikhlaq’s family,” said 25-year-old Naeem Saifi, a resident of Bisada.
Ikhlaq’s nephew Mohammad Yaqoob, 42, who lives in Upralsi village just 12 km away from Bisada, found it a little strange that there was no azaan on the loudspeaker.
“I have come to visit my mamu’s (maternal uncle) family. Perhaps, there was a power cut. Otherwise, the azaan should have been made on the loudspeaker,” he said.
But 53-year-old Shahabuddin, a resident of Bisada, confirmed that there was no power cut. “Actually, it is better to be more cautious till the village returns to normalcy. Earlier, there used to be a much larger congregation for Friday prayers,” he said.