With interval differences among both the Shia and the Sunni communities of Muslims spilling on road, four religious places — two mosques of Sunnis and two Imambaras of Shias — have been locked down in the past couple of weeks.
The lock down has resulted in Namaz not being held at the two mosques while the historically significant Imambaras have become out of bound for the public.
In the first incident, sectarian violence erupted between Deobandi and Barelvi sect of Muslims in Bareilly over the appointment of Imam in the Qutubkhana mosque. Following the clash, the mosque was locked on May 26 and Namaz has not been offered since then. Even the district administration’s intervention did not prove successful.
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Following another clash between the two sects in Gorakhpur, a mosque in Rasoolpur Takia was locked down on June 2. The dispute in this case, too, was same — the appointment of Imam.
“The first thing is Imaan. Then only we have Namaz, Haj and other things. So we are for our Imaan and will not accept anything else. We will not hesitate to take on roads. Let the mosques remain locked,” Barelvi cleric, Tasleem Raza Khan said.
In Lucknow, a section of Shia community, led by Maulana Kalbe Jawad, is protesting against the appointment of Syed Waseem Rizvi as the Chairman of Shia Waqf Board. Demanding Rizvi’s removal, Shia women are staging a dharna outside Chhota Imambara which they closed two days ago. Bara Imambara was locked down on Friday.
Besides having functional mosques, both these Imambaras are tourists attractions and are frequented by the public every day. Jawad, however, seems unperturbed by the fact that the public has no access to the Imambaras.
“Why is anyone objecting if the two Imambaras are closed? No one has raised the issue of Muslims’ being banned from entering the Somnath temple. Golden Temple has its own rules. Imambaras are not fun and frolic. They are religious places and Shariah law should be applicable upon them,” he claimed.
The Shia cleric also alleged that “all un-Islamic acts are carried out in Imambaras and even liquor bottles have been recovered”. “Government control should be lifted from Imambaras and they should be handed over to us,” he said, refusing to lift the siege over the Imambaras.