Khudai Khidmatgar Head Arrested for ‘Offering Namaz in UP Temple’
“Faisal Khan was asked to offer namaz in the temple,” Khudai Khidmatgar spokesperson said denying all charges.
Faisal Khan, the founder of Khudai Khidmatgar – a Delhi-based social organisation that works to promote communal harmony in the country – who was arrested on 2 November after an FIR was registered against him and three others for allegedly offering namaz without permission at Nand Baba temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura district, has been sent to 14-day judicial custody.
“He was arrested around 4:00 pm on the evening of 2 November and taken to Jamia Nagar police station after which he was handed over to Uttar Pradesh police,” Pawan Yadav, who is a member of the National Leadership Council and spokesperson of Khudai Khidmatgar, confirmed to The Quint. He also denied all charges and allegations against Faisal Khan and the three others booked by UP Police.
The FIR, which was registered on 1 November with the Barsana police station in Mathura, has been registered against Faisal Khan, Chand Mohammad, Aalok Ratan and Nilesh Gupta.
They have been charged under sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) and 505 (public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code.
The complaint in the FIR, accessed by The Quint, reads how on around 12:30 pm on 29 October four members of Delhi’s Khudai Khidmatgar came to visit Nand Baba Mandir. The complaint names the four accused.
It reads: “Without informing or taking permission from those at the temple premises, they offered their namaz here. Those who came with them took photos of them praying and posted it on social media, after which it became viral. This is also being shown in the news. Because of their acts, the sentiments of the Hindu community have been hurt. We are apprehensive that they will incorrectly use the image of the temple. We also have our apprehensions regarding this organisation and if it is getting funding from foreign Muslim institutions and has relations with them. We would like an investigation as we are worried that they did this to hurt the harmony in the area.”
Firmly refuting the allegations and pointing to the picture below, Yadav says the images on social media do not show how others from the temple were present right there. “They did not do anything without permission. Selective pictures are being shared on social media. Those in the temple are right there behind them when they are offering prayers. No one was hiding anything and nor did anyone at the temple have a problem at all. If they did have one, they would have stopped them right there right?” Yadav said.
“They were going to all the temples in the area. When they reached the Nand Baba temple, they spoke to the priests and others, did their own darshan and got prasad as well. It was time for namaz so two of the four were beginning to leave while the other two were staying back in the temple. When they were about to leave, those from the temple stopped them and said that since the temple was a home of the Gods they could offer their prayers here. Therefore they came down three steps from the temple and offered their namaz there. This matter has been completely twisted,” Yadav says.
For days after their return, there was no issue. “Everything was fine, but then suddenly on the fourth day an FIR has been registered and everyone is saying we went there with ill intentions,” Yadav said.
Faisal Khan was there as part of his Braj Yatra, which covers the area of Vrindavan, Barsana, etc. As part of their journey they visited several other temples to promote religious harmony, including the Radhe ka mandir in Barsana and all the ghats of Yamuna as well.
Speaking about the works of Faisal Khan and Khudai Khitmatgar to promote religious harmony, Yadav said Morari Bapu, a respected name who reads ram-katha in Ahmedabad, recently gave Faisal the Rashtriya Sadbhavana award. “Last year Faisal Khan went from Delhi to Kolkata on a cycle for against communalism and to promote social harmony across the country. He has also condemned the attacks in France after the controversial Charlie Hebdo articles were published,” Yadav added.
Khudai Khidmatgar was an organisation that was founded by Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan also called Frontier Gandhi. In 2011, Faisal Khan restarted the organisation to primarily work on communal harmony.
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