Judicial enquiry to probe into Ghata Masjid arson urged

By TwoCircles.net staff reporter

New Delhi : Deputy Speaker of Delhi Assembly Shoib Iqbal called on Chief Secretary of Delhi R. Narayan Swami Thursday to demand a judicial enquiry into the incident of arson in the historic Ghata Masjid situated in the Dayaganj area here, calling it "very unfortunate".

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The incident took place at about 3.15 a.m. Wednesday, an hour and a half before the Fajr prayer, which burnt over one dozen copies of the Holy Qur'an.

An Urdu press correspondent based here told TwoCircles.net, on the condition of anonymity, that initially a TV channel flashed the incident but the Delhi police impressed upon the print and electronic media not to cover it lest the law and order situation in the city should go out of order. As a result, only the Urdu daily Rashtriya Sahara could sustain the police move, and other Urdu dailies as well as the mainstream media made it a blackout.

Shoib Iqbal told the Chief Secretary, "Some miscreants are hell bent upon vitiating the law and order situation and communal harmony in the Capital."

He underscored the need for the public to stand alert at this critical hour and urged the government to take stern action against such anti-national and anti-social elements in the country.

He further said that such incidents would continue to take place unless all mosques are handed over to Muslims, and demanded from the government once again to open all the mosques under Archaeological Survey of India for five-time prayers.

The Muazzin of the mosque Asghar Husain woke up at 3.15 a.m. to discover smoke emanating from around the pulpit. He then awoke the Imam of the mosque Maulana Muhammad Waseem Qasmi as well as some neighbours. They all extinguished the fire and informed the police. But over one dozen copies of the Holy Qur'an had been burnt before the fire could be extinguished.

The police came to take stock of the situation and preserved fingerprints from certain portions of the mosque. But later the Central District police declared it to be a mere candle fire incident.

The Sahara exclusive coverage reports ACP Ashok Kumar Saxena present on the spot saying that at 7.30 p.m. candles had to be lit inside the mosque following the power cut and they could not be put off even after the power was restored, and this caused the fire.

But a person living inside the mosque, in his statement to the Sahara, rejected the police version saying that no candles were lit, and said that later Isha prayers were offered in congregation and Muslims continued to be there in the mosque till 10 p.m., and during this period no one saw any candle there.

He told the Urdu daily that a plastic board hung against the wall on the left of the pulpit was manually damaged giving sufficient proof of someone coming into the mosque in the dark of night and lit the fire.

The Sahara report has also to say that the police got the pulpit and the adjoining areas cleaned and the burnt remains of the Holy Qur'an buried on the bank of the Yamuna nearby early in the morning itself.

The report adds that the seriousness of the fire can well be gauged with the fact that the floor and the wall near the pulpit remained very hot for several hours after the discovery of the incident.