Eleven days after the lynching of a 55-year-old man over allegations of cow slaughter, the loudspeakers of Bisada village’s mosque and temple continued to remain silent on Friday. The villagers mutually switched off the loudspeakers for the sake of communal harmony.
Just 15 people turned up to offer prayers at the village mosque on Friday. The imam of the mosque, Riyazuddin, who had gone to his village to celebrate Bakri Eid, had not returned and the villagers invited Imams from other villages to help them offer prayers.
“The permanent imam of this mosque had gone to his native place in Bulandshahr for Eid. Two days after Bakri Eid, Ikhlaq was lynched and tension spread in the village. He (the imam) hasn’t returned ever since. I was asked to perform the prayers at the mosque for the time being till the imam’s replacement is found,” said Kari Mohammad Iliyas, imam of the Dadri mosque who visited Bisada following requests from residents.
Residents said despite the police deployment, there was still a sense of fear in the village and the local residents were avoiding the mosque.
“On Fridays, we usually had around 100-150 people crowding at the mosque to pray. The mosque was usually so crowded that people had to sit on the road and get on to the roof to offer prayers. But for the past 10-11 days, just a handful of people have been turning up,” said Ali Jaan Khan, a local resident and member of the peace committee.
Khan said people in the area were working towards restoring normalcy.
“Our Hindu neighbours are taking care of our safety. They often come out of their house during the day and ask if we are having any trouble with anybody. We don’t think we need to leave the village,” Khan said.
Attendance drops in primary school
The attendance at the Bisada primary school has dropped by nearly 50% ever since the September 29 lynching of Mohammad Ikhlaq. Sources said the residents of the village were sceptical about sending their kids to school under the shadow of guns.
“Nearly 50 per cent of the students are absent since last Tuesday. Of the 129 students registered, just 40-50 children are turning up,” said Kanchan Rai, principal of the Bisada primary school.
“A total of 32 Muslim students are registered with the school out of which only five are attending classes,” said Parul Singh, a teacher.
Maneka slams UP government
Union minister Maneka Gandhi criticised attempts to “politicise” the Dadri lynching incident and attacked UP government, saying it was attempting to mislead the people.
Condemning Dadri lynching, the Women and Child Development minister said that communal harmony of the country should not be disturbed over any issue. “Like the President and the Prime Minister have said, communal harmony of the country should not be disturbed over any issue,” said Maneka, who is also an animal rights activist. With PTI inputs