Shia protesters’ march, led by cleric Kalbe Jawwad, towards the Chief Minister’s residence in Lucknow on Friday turned violent in which two police vehicles were torched while a constable’s service revolver was reportedly snatched.
The violence took a drastic turn when a 60-year-old protestor died during the clash between the police and the agitators with two constables sustaining critical injuries.
Lucknow SSP Praveen Kumar said of the protestor – identified as Karrar Hussain – that he “appears to have died of cardiac arrest as no injury marks could be found on his body”. The autopsy report will confirm the cause behind the death, he said.
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The protesters, however, claimed that Hussain, a resident of Muftiganj locality in Thakurganj, died from injuries suffered during police cane-charge. Shia Muslims took out the march after Maulana Kalbe Jawwad called upon them to arrive at the CM residence and also gherao minority welfare and waqf minister Azam Khan’s residence, blaming the latter for malpractices in Shia Central Board of Waqfs (SCBW).
The cleric claimed that Azam is not a Muslim and Mulayam will also meet the same fate as Congress. “What sort of Muslim Azam Khan is…when there is lathicharge on those fasting during Roza. Mulayam, too, is concerned about his own community. We will intensify our agitation and the Samajwadi Party will be routed from the state,” Jawwad said. After the lathicharge, the police took Jawwad and other protesters into custody.
Soon after offering ‘Alvida Namaz’ at Asafi mosque in Bada Imambara, the procession marched towards Hazratganj amid heavy police force at Shaheed Smarak where blockade had been erected with buses stationed for carrying the protesters in case there were arrests.
The protesters resorted to arson and torched a PAC bus, police jeep and motorcycles. Amidst all this, there were reports of tension in old city where shops were crowded with people shopping for Eid.
Some protestors, meanwhile, managed to reach Azam’s residence at Vikrammaditya Marg and raised slogans, but were chased away by the police. The cleric has reportedly announced that protests will now be held every day until Eid. “Mulayam thinks we are less in number, but he is not aware of our strength. Mulayam has always betrayed the Muslim community,” Jawwad said.
He alleged that Azam is trying to have his own man as the chairman of SCBW for his vindictive action against Nawab of Rampur who is also a Shia. Sources say that the bone of contention remains Shia community’s apprehension that former SCBW chairman, Syed Waseem Rizvi, will again be appointed as the board chairman at Azam’s behest who is allegedly involved in corrupt activities.
Earlier, during the Alvida Namaz, Jawwad gave a call for boycotting Israeli products in light of the ongoing battle with Palestine.
Meanwhile, Naib Imam of Tile Wali Masjid, Abdul Mannan Waizi claimed that the Alvida Namaz at the mosque situated adjacent to Asafi mosque was offered peacefully. “We are not linked to these protests. The namazis in our mosque went away peacefully and it was after they had gone that the protest march started,” Waizi said.