Defying the law, court says plea of Hindus to pray in the historic Gyanvapi mosque will go to trial
In defiance of laws meant to protect the sanctity of places of worship, an Uttar Pradesh court has allowed a plea demanding that Hindu supremacists be allowed to perform prayers in the historic Gyanvapi mosque to go to trial.
The court is directly defying the Places of Worship Act, a law that protects the sanctity of religious structures and bans other communities from forcibly converting them into other types of spaces.
“We want to put in another petition to clear out the area where our Mahadev [deity] has been found,” said one of the petitioners after the judge’s statement, clearly indicating that the group wants to affect the sanctity of the mosque.
Despite the open intent to turn the mosque into a temple, the judge blatantly refused to acknowledge Hindu supremacists’ intent and claimed that “the suit of the plaintiffs is limited and confined to the right of worship as a civil right and fundamental right.” He has also struck down a challenge to the Hindu extremists’ petition from a Muslim group.
Hindu supremacist groups have been targeting the Gyanvapi masjid for months, falsely claiming that a Shivling, or a representation of the Hindu deity Shiva, was in the mosque. Following this claim, Hindu extremist groups demanded that the mosque be converted into a temple or opened up for Hindus to worship.
Muslims have already been banned from holding large prayer gatherings in the mosque to protect the alleged Shivling, which the mosque caretakers claim is merely a faucet. The Supreme Court has failed to intervene and protect the Muslim community’s right to maintain the sanctity of their mosque.
Hindu extremists threaten to ‘lay siege’ to Hyderabad if hate monger not released from jail
The powerful Hindu supremacist group Shri Ram Sena has threatened to “lay siege” to Hyderabad city in Telangana state if Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and hate monger T. Raja Singh is not released from jail after being arrested for making blasphemous comments about Prophet Muhammad.
“Our cadre will lay siege to Hyderabad if Raja Singh is not released within ten days. Lakhs of people will gather in support of the demand for the release of Raja Singh, and if anything untoward happens, the state government will be responsible,” warned Pramod Mutalik, national president of the Shri Ram Sena and a vitriolic Hindu supremacist leader.
Singh was arrested in August under hate speech charges for “habitually delivering provocative and inflammatory speeches and driving a wedge between communities.” He has also threatened violence in the past, including a threat to “beat up” Muslim comedian Munawar Faruqui and burn down the venue of his comedy show.
Mutalik further claimed that his group would “launch an agitation and unite all Hindus in the country to fight for the release of Raja Singh… If anything happens to Raja Singh, then the sentiments of the Hindu community cannot be calmed down.”
No action has yet been taken against Mutalik for his open threat.
Officials say Muslim journalist Siddique Kappan to remain in jail, prolonging injustice
Despite being granted bail by the Supreme Court, Muslim journalist and prisoner of conscience Siddique Kappan continue to remain in prison as a case being probed by the government’s Enforcement Directorate against him is “still pending.”
The baseless case is yet another instance of judicial harassment against the journalist, who has languished for 23 months in prison under blatantly false terrorism charges.
His prolonged imprisonment despite repeated condemnation from the international community is a mark of the degradation of the justice system under the Modi regime, which routinely punishes Muslims for their journalism and activism.
During his imprisonment, Kappan faced inhumane treatment and conditions, including being beaten, mental torture, and failing to receive adequate healthcare. In 2021, he contracted Covid-19, causing his health to decline to the point where he was transferred to a Delhi hospital for treatment.