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Beaten Inside Mosque, Beard Chopped, Claims Maharashtra Imam; FIR Filed

The imam from Maharashtra's Jalna claimed that he was thrashed by 3 men after he refused to chant 'Jai Shri Ram'.

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A 26-year-old imam in Maharashtra's Jalna was allegedly thrashed and his beard was chopped off by three unknown persons inside the premises of a mosque.

The incident allegedly took place in Jalna's Anwa village. Imam Zakir Sayyed Khaja claimed that he was alone in the Jama Masjid at 7:30 pm on Sunday, 26 March, when three masked men entered the mosque, forced him to chant 'Jai Shri Ram', and thrashed him after he refused to do so.

According to the FIR, Khaja alleged that the three men dragged him to an isolated part of the mosque where he was punched and kicked by them, before they allegedly rendered him unconscious by covering his nose with a cloth.

He further claimed that he gained consciousness only at the hospital, where he realised that the three men had chopped off his beard while he was unconscious and that he had bruises on his chin, chest, and face.

Khaja claimed that the three men had covered their faces with a black cloth, so he could not identify them. Khaja said that he has been at the mosque for the past seven years.

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The Jalna police has not issued an official statement on the matter but an FIR was registered in the Paradh police station under the following sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC):

  • Section 295 (Injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion)

  • Section 452 (House-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrong­ful restraint)

  • Section 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt)

  • Section 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention)

Superintendent of Police Akshay Shinde told PTI that police personnel had been deployed in the village to maintain peace.

The matter took a political turn after Mankhurd MLA and Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi wrote a letter to Maharashtra Deputy CM and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis.

"I urge Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis that strict action should be taken against the miscreants who broke into the Anwa village mosque of Jalna, thrashed and chopped the beard of a Maulana in order to create communal tensions," Azmi tweeted.

Speaking to the media, Maharashtra Minister Uday Samant said: "This is condemnable. Neither the CM or the deputy CM will tolerate incidents like these. But while a probe is conducted, it also needs to be probed if it is an attempt to defame the state government."

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Topics:  Maharashtra   Communalism   mosque 

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