Four booked over offering namaz at Mathura temple
The Uttar Pradesh Police has registered a first information report (FIR) in Mathura against two Muslim members of Khudai Khidmatgar, a non-violent resistance organisation which traces its roots back to India’s freedom struggle, for allegedly offering “namaz” on the premises of the Nand Baba temple in the holy city.
Two other Hindu members from the organisation have been named co-accused in a case registered on Sunday evening by Kanha Goswami, a priest of the temple, and two other priests, Mukesh Goswami and SD Shiv Hari.
According to the FIR, the four accused -- Faizal Khan, Chand Mohammad, Alok Ratan and Neelesh Gupta -- reached the temple at about 12.30pm on October 29 and performed the “84 kos parikrama” that is common in Hindu prayers in the Mathura’s Braj area.
“[Later] photographs of the two Muslims offering ‘namaz’ in the temple premises were uploaded on social media by Faizal Khan. This has hurt Hindu sentiments,” alleged Goswami.
“No permission was sought from the priests or administration for offering ‘namaz’. Also, the photos of the ‘namaz’ were made viral on social media,” Goswami said in the FIR, adding that these images could be misused to fan communal tensions.
Khudai Khidmatgar, which means or “servants of God”, is a resistance movement once led by Abdul Gaffar Khan, and resisted the British Raj. Abdul Gaffar Khan, a Pashtun activist who fought for India’s Independence, was popularly known as “Frontier Gandhi”. The Delhi-based organisation is now run by Faizal Khan.
Locals in Barsana said that the four came for the ‘84 kos parikrama’ -- which is religious circumambulation done to please Lord Krishna. Faizal Khan, these people said, was well versed in Hindu mythology and narrated couplets from the Ramcharitmanas, an epic poem by Tuslsidas based on the Ramayana.
Mathura police have taken Faizal into custody from Jamina Nagar in Delhi, from where he runs the Khudai Khidmatgar organisationHT’s attempts to contact someone from Khudai Khidmatgar failed.