BJP says stones were hurled at Hanuman Jayanti procession in Nellore, Police refute the allegations

Published : Apr 26, 2022 20:07 IST

A photograph of the alleged incident at Nellore.

A photograph of the alleged incident at Nellore.

The Andhra Pradesh police have categorically refuted allegations by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that a Hanuman Jayanti Shobha Yatra, organised on April 25 by the Hindu Chaitanya Vedika, was pelted with stones from an illegally constructed mosque in Nellore in Andhra Pradesh.

Making the allegations, Sunil Deodhar, national secretary, BJP, and incharge of Andhra Pradesh, claimed in a tweet: “Alarming Situation witnessed by Hindus yesterday in Nellore when stone pelting happened from Illegal mosque on ‘Hanuman Sobha Yatra’ also beer bottle was thrown on idol! Shame !”

But the Nellore district police have rubbished the BJP’s allegations and claims by a BJP spokesperson that the State was backsliding into communal chaos.

Police sources told Frontline that the around 3,000-strong procession, which consisted of members from several Hindu organisations, including the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal, started at four in the evening from Nellore’s TTD Kalyana Mandapam and proceeded towards the RSR High School in Nawabpet.

They said the rally went off without any incidents until the jurisdictional police tried to divert the rally away from Nellore’s Court Compound Main Road, on which a mosque, the Khuddus Masjid, is also located.

But the people in the procession did not heed the police’s directions, insisting on proceeding past the mosque. The police further disclosed that while the yatra was crossing the masjid, the volume in the audio system was increased and a continuous blowing of horns of vehicles indulged in.

Stated the report of the incident prepared by the Nellore Superintendent of Police: “Though it was not prayer time, some Muslim youth had already assembled in the Masjid claiming that they were there to offer namaz. Responding to the signs from members in the rally, the Muslims gathered in the mosque shouted slogans “Allahu Akbar” in a high tone and one of the Muslims made a vulgar gesture with his middle finger.”

The police disclosed that Shaik Khaleel, Deputy Mayor of Nellore; Syed Sami Hussain, State working president, Indian National League; Shaik Jafar, Telugu Desam Party minority leader; Shaik Siddique, ruling Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party minority leader; and a few other prominent members of the muslim community and politicians were also present in the mosque at that time.

However, the police stated that the sufficient police presence both at the Court Compound and the Khuddus mosque ensured that there were no untoward incidents. “No stones were pelted,” said a senior police officer. He added that the police “took all precautionary measures including preventing Muslims gathered in the mosque from coming out until the procession” crossed the mosque.

The BJP has contested the police’s version. On April 25, Vakati Narayana Reddy, the saffron party’s member of the legislative council, alleged that some people from the masjid premises had tried to instigate those in the procession.

Demanding action against those who allegedly made ugly gestures and threw empty beer bottles at the idol, Narayana Reddy claimed that those creating trouble were antisocial elements and rowdy sheeters. He alleged that the land on which the masjid stood belonged to the Public Works department and that though the Andhra Pradesh High Court had given an eviction order four years ago, the district officials had failed to act.

The opposition in Andhra Pradesh has been repeatedly accusing the Jagan Mohan Reddy government of being lax in handling the law and order situation and letting the State backslide into communal chaos.

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