Two Muslim men, including a mosque imam, were stabbed in Khandwa city of Madhya Pradesh on Sunday allegedly by a group of Hindu men.
Huneza Khan | TwoCircles.net
BHOPAL (MADHYA PRADESH) — Two Muslim men, including an imam of a mosque, were stabbed and injured on their way to a mosque in Khandwa city of Madhya Pradesh allegedly by a group of five Hindu men on Sunday (January 5).
Police have arrested five people, including four minors. One individual Raja Rathore has been named as the mastermind, a police official said on Monday.
The incident occurred late Sunday night, in which 23-year-old mosque imam Sheikh Huzefa and a 20-year-old youth Mohammad Talha were injured. The duo were hospitalized at nearby MY Hospital in Indore.
Location: Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh
A local Imam named Hafiz Huzefa was on his way to the mosque when 3 men threw chilli powder in his eyes & stabbed him in chest.
While running away, the men also stabbed another Muslim youth in the chest. pic.twitter.com/vq5Wm9chUj
— HindutvaWatch (@HindutvaWatchIn) February 5, 2023
Recounting the incident to TwoCircles.net, Huzefa said he was on his bike to the mosque to lead the prayers when he was attacked. The assailants threw chilli powder in his eyes and stabbed him. “I was on my bike to the mosque to lead the prayers. There were 4 to 5 boys. They took their knives. I didn’t see them taking the knife out. They just took it out and stabbed me. I didn’t realise it,” the imam said.
“A man from my locality came to my rescue and took me to the hospital,” he said.
Huzefa has been leading prayers at Mohammadi Masjid in Khandwa for the past three years and said nothing like this has happened before. “It was a lethal assault,” he said.
While running away, the men also stabbed Talha in the chest.
Following the incident, dozens of people gathered outside the hospital and near the Padam Nagar police station, he said.
Khandwa Superintendent of Police Vivek Singh told the PTI news agency that Huzefa is in stable condition while Talha is out of danger. “Both were injured near the chest,” he said.
‘Attack was communal’
Huzefa claimed that he was attacked because of his Muslim identity. “They attacked me because of my beard and skull cap. Children of a particular community are filled with hatred against the Muslim community which leads them to do such communal acts that nowadays have become common in Khandwa. The administration is ignorant about it,” he alleged.
He said these incidents would stop if the administration had taken strict actions in the past.
Huzefa alleged that various anti-Muslim organizations are active in Khandwa. “The administration needs to take note of it,” he said.
Ashfaq Ali, an activist from the Paigham-e-Insaniyat group in Khandwa said that the attack on the imam of a mosque is a serious issue. “He was attacked just two minutes away from the mosque. The attackers were already waiting for him there. Even our religious leaders are being attacked,” he said.
Ali alleged that Mahadevgarh, a right-wing organization, is attempting to disturb the peace and harmony of Khandwa.
Khandwa Superintendent of Police (SP) Vivek Singh told TwoCircles.net that two separate FIRs have been registered in the incidents.
“The FIR has been registered against unknown persons under section 307 (attempt to murder) and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). We are trying to identify the accused. The CCTV footage shows 3 persons, however, we are investigating if there were others as well,” said the SP.
On being asked if the attack was communal, SP Singh said it will be cleared after investigation if the attack was communal or not.
“We have come through a few incidents recently and taken action against the culprits. We will not let the law and order be disturbed by anyone,” Singh added.
Huneza Khan is a journalist from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. She tweets @KhanHuneza