By Mahesh Trivedi | Clarion India
SONGADH – Miscreants on late Wednesday night broke open the lock of a large meeting hall used by local Muslims for prayers and small religious gatherings in the historical town of Songadh in southern Tapi district of Gujarat, and burnt down several copies of Quran, the sacred scripture of Islam, and scores of other religious books.
The raiders ransacked the cupboards in the 15 feet-by-30-feet room, dumped the countless holy books regarded as the finest work in classical Arabic literature, on the ground, made bonfire of the rare collection and fled the scene.
Police inspector H C Gohil told Clarion India that no one had been arrested but an FIR had been lodged against ‘unknown’ persons for the “first such incident” in the tribal-dominated, peaceful town known for its 16th century fort built during the Maratha empire.
On Thursday, even as police investigations were on, Mujahid Nafees, convener of the Minority Coordination Committee, Gujarat, on Thursday dashed off a letter to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, demanding “strictest legal action against such anti-social elements trying to shatter peace in the state”.
“Such incidents which trigger panic and tension are an insult to our Constitution which guarantees freedom of religion to all Indians,” Nafees said in the letter.
Vaseef Hussain, secretary of Gujarat Jamaat-e-Islami Hind’s department of national affairs and community development, condemned the incident and said the culprits should be collared immediately, adding that such disturbances were purposely created to spark communal tension.
Only 10 days ago, the sudden outbreak of communal violence in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Gujarat’s quietest district of Kutch had exploded the myth that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state had remained peaceful after the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom under his watch.
One person was killed, several others, including three policemen, were injured and three vehicles were set ablaze during Hindu-Muslim clashes that erupted in two villages during a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) procession taken out to collect funds for the Rs 1,100-crore Ram temple being built in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.
This story first appeared on clarionindia.net