37 held after graves vandalised, idols damaged at Pirana Dargah in Ahmedabad | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

37 held after graves vandalised, idols damaged at Pirana Dargah in Ahmedabad

May 10, 2024 01:04 AM IST

Police said stone-pelting and vandalism led to damage to some graves and statues, as well as minor injuries to around six police personnel.

AHMEDABAD: The Ahmedabad police on Thursday arrested 37 people for their involvement in stone-pelting and vandalism at the 600-year-old Pirana Dargah, a shrine revered by both communities that was seen as an example of communal harmony.

The arrests were made in connection with clashes that broke out between two groups in Ahmedabad on May 7 night (Videograb/X/damayanteedhar)
The arrests were made in connection with clashes that broke out between two groups in Ahmedabad on May 7 night (Videograb/X/damayanteedhar)

The arrests were made in connection with clashes that broke out between two groups in Ahmedabad on May 7 night, hours after polling for the Lok Sabha elections in Gujarat ended.

According to Ahmedabad (Rural) superintendent of police Om Prakash Jat, tension erupted after allegations by one group that the graves had been vandalised and the saint’s mausoleum, known as the mazhar, was also targeted.

Police said stone-pelting and vandalism led to damage to some graves and statues, as well as minor injuries to around six police personnel.

The Pir Imamshah Bawa Trust-run campus of the Sufi saint’s shrine originally consisted of a shrine for his four grandsons and a granddaughter, a mosque named after him, and a graveyard where Saiyeds, descendants of Pir Imamshah Bawa, are buried.

The Pirana Dargah has long been a site of harmonious worship for both Hindus, who identify themselves as ‘Satpanthi,’ and Muslims.

However, tension has been simmering over recent controversies around the shrine’s identity. In August last year, Hindu followers of Pir Imamshah Bawa rechristened the Sufi saint as ‘Sadguru Hanstej Maharaj,’ a move that drew strong objections from the saint’s Muslim descendants from the local Saiyed community. They accused the Hindus of attempting to ‘saffronise’ the shrine and sat on a fast in protest. The Hindu trustees argued that the name ‘Hanstej Maharaj’ has been associated with the saint in scriptures for over 4,000 years.

On January 30, 2022, about 200 labourers, accompanied by big contingent of police personnel, allegedly came to the premises and started construction of a wall in the compound, dividing the dargah, graveyard, and mosque.

The Muslim trustees of the Imamshah Bawa Roza Sansthan filed a representation with authorities, objecting to the alleged efforts to convert the dargah into a Hindu religious place. They cited instances of deities’ posters being pasted on the mausoleum and the erection of a hoarding depicting the shrine as a temple, bearing the words ‘Om Shree Sadguru Hanstejji Maharaj Akhand Divyajyoti Mandir.’

The dispute reached the Gujarat high court, with the Sunni Awami Forum filing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in 2022, invoking the Places of Worship Act, 1991. The PIL alleged that the dargah was being converted into a temple with the installation of idols, contrary to the scheme of the Trust and provisions of the Act.

The Satpanthi trustees, who hold a majority in the committee managing the Imamshah Bawa Roza Trust, have been accused of depriving Muslims of their religious rights and portraying Pir Imamshah Bawa as a Hindu saint.

Catch every big hit, every wicket with Crickit, a one stop destination for Live Scores, Match Stats, Infographics & much more. Explore now!

See more

Get Current Updates on India News, Budget 2024, Weather Today along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, July 25, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On