Pratapgarh in Turmoil: Murder of Renowned Cleric Sparks Outrage, Residents Demand Swift Justice

Sidra Fatima,

New Delhi: On June 8, 67-year-old Maulana Farooq was brutally murdered in his native village Sonpur, under the jurisdiction of the Jethwara police station in Uttar Pradesh’s Pratapgarh district. The shocking incident has ignited significant tension among locals, who have taken to the streets, demanding immediate justice and the apprehension of those responsible.

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Izhar, a resident of Pratapgarh and the deceased neighbour, expressed profound shock and grief over the tragedy. “The assailant attacked Maulana Sahib while he was seated in a chair and struck him with a shovel before fleeing the scene. Maulana Sahib, who had gone there to collect his dues, tragically succumbed to his injuries. It is unimaginable that he would never return. The entire sequence of events was revealed by a Dhobi (washerman) who witnessed one Tiwari (the alleged attacker) fleeing and promptly informed authorities,” he told

While three individuals, including Tiwari’s wife, have been apprehended, Tiwari himself remains at large.

The deceased, a father of three, was the sole breadwinner of his family and was running a madrasa in Kadipur village. He was said to have cordial relations with the prime suspect, Chandramani Tiwari.

On the morning of the incident, Tiwari contacted Farooq regarding a plot of land. Trusting him, he visited him without any suspicion.

Asad Qasmi, Farooq’s eldest son, corroborated these accounts, stating, “Approximately 10 years ago, our family purchased a 10 biswa of land (around 5,999 square feet), allowing Tiwari to cultivate it to sustain his family. My father assured him that he could repay the money at his convenience.”

He said Tiwari had been reliant on his father’s goodwill, owing approximately Rs 8 lakh. “On June 7, he visited our home and urged my father to visit his place to discuss dividing the land. We harboured no suspicions, as he had visited our home for decades, often seeking financial assistance or provisions.”

“When my father went there, he directed him to a chair near the door, and without warning, struck him in the head with a shovel. Despite the swift arrival of the police, he managed to evade arrest. It is baffling how he could escape if they were truly determined to apprehend him,” Qasmi lamented.

Upon learning about the murder, enraged villagers converged in large numbers and blockaded roads. Tensions escalated as clashes erupted with law enforcement officials.

Additional forces from eight nearby police stations were summoned to restore order in what has been described as a scene akin to a war zone.

Pratapgarh Superintendent of Police Satpal addressed the media, offering reassurance of a thorough investigation and ensuring justice. “We are taking this incident very seriously and will ensure that the perpetrators face the full force of the law,” he declared.

However, initial assurances seemed insufficient to quell the crowd’s agitation. An FIR was promptly filed under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), pertaining to the punishment for murder.

Local politicians and community leaders echoed the demand for swift justice while urging the community to uphold peace and refrain from vigilantism. They condemned the heinous murder of the cleric, renowned for his religious teachings and community service spanning from Navi Mumbai to his hometown of Pratapgarh.

The brutal killing of such a revered figure has not only stunned the local community but also raised serious concerns about the region’s law and order situation.

“The overwhelming turnout at Maulana’s funeral was a testament to the profound love and respect he commanded throughout his life. The people of Pratapgarh were in disbelief upon hearing of his untimely demise, such was the depth of affection and regard he inspired. His loss is a profound tragedy and a personal one for me as well. However, the administration is tirelessly working to apprehend the perpetrators,” Abdul Qadir Jeelani, general secretary of the Samajwadi Party, told

“Three of the five accused have been apprehended, and we remain in constant communication with the authorities to oversee the progress of the case. Our goal is to ensure that justice is served, setting a precedent to deter such atrocities in the future.”