The Shahi Imam of north Delhi’s Jama Masjid was attacked by a 32-year-old man during evening prayers on Sunday, the police said.
Deepak Mishra, special CP (law & order), said the accused was overpowered and arrested from the scene and has been placed under arrest. He will be booked for attempt to murder.
The man, identified as one Kamaluddin, apparently wanted to set the Imam ablaze and is believed to be ‘mentally unstable’.
Syed Ahmed Bukhari was leading the Namaz of Maghrib when Kamaluddin ran up to him, poured kerosene on the Imam’s head and torso before unsuccessfully trying to light a lighter around 5:47 pm.
“Fortunately, he could not ignite the lighter. He was surrounded by the Imam’s personal security staff who then handed him over to the local police,” said a senior police officer. Apart from his defunct lighter, the police said they also found a matchbox in Kamaluddin’s pocket.
Imam Bukhari has recently chosen his 19-year-old son, Shaban, as his successor.
“Kamaluddin hails from 24 Parganas in West Bengal and seems to have some sort of mental problem. He told us he had travelled by train to Delhi specifically to target the Imam; further questioning and investigation is underway,” the officer added.