HARIDWAR: Chanting religious slogans, members of Devbhoomi Raksha Abhiyaan demolished two ‘mazars’ (tomb shrines) in Rishikesh
and streamed the video on Facebook. In the purported video uploaded on August 27, a person before hammering the walls of one of the mazars can be heard saying, “These mazars in Rishikesh will not be spared. Rishikesh is a land of ‘rishis’, not a ‘mazar bhoomi’.”
The two tombs were demolished with JCB machines and hammers in the presence of a police team, and it was followed by hate speech, said locals who witnessed the incident.
Police later registered a case under IPC section 505 (committing an offence in any place of worship or in any assembly engaged in the performance of religious worship or ceremonies) against “unknown persons” though those involved in the vandalism are visible in the video.
Darshan Bharti, head of Devbhoomi Raksha Abhiyan, told TOI on Friday, “We had written permission from owners of the land where the mazars were built to demolish them. Somebody had misled them into thinking that allowing mazars would bring prosperity to their homes.”
SP (rural), Kamlesh Upadhyay, said, “The mazars were built on private land in Amit Gram, Gumaniwala, in Rishikesh. Land owners gave their nod to remove it. But the demolishers neither informed the police nor were cops present there. We have registered a case against unknown persons who streamed the incident live on Facebook which caused panic in the area. We are identifying them for further action.”
Upset with the development, local members of the minority community demanded strict action against the accused. Shadab Sabari, general secretary of Anjuman Gulam-a-Mustafa, a socio-religious group, said, “It is clearly an act of hate. They streamed it live and gave hate speech against us. Did they have police patronage? The administration must take action as per the law. No arrest has been made so far.”