Updated: October 3, 2021 9:12:57 pm
A place of worship was damaged using explosives and its priest and a devotee were thrashed with sticks allegedly by two dozen masked people at Jawad tehsil in Madhya Pradesh’s Neemuch district, police said on Sunday.
The attackers left behind a pamphlet claiming the shrine was involved in converting Hindus to Islam. The attack lasted for four hours from around 11 PM on Saturday to 3 AM on Sunday, police said.
The injured devotee, identified as Abdul Rajjak, has been admitted to a hospital while the priest Noor Baba sustained minor injuries, Superintendent of Police Suraj Kumar Verma said.
Noor Baba has lodged a complaint with the police following which an FIR was registered against 24 unidentified people on the charges of rioting, damaging the place of worship etc., under the Indian Penal Code, he told PTI over the phone.
Prima facie, the place of worship was damaged with the use of some explosive substance.
When asked about the explosive used, the SP said it would be known after forensic analysis.
This religious place is located in a forested and deserted area under the Ratangarh police station area in the Neemuch district, he added.
Verma confirmed the attack lasted for four hours from 11 pm Saturday to 3 am Sunday.
Asked about the pamphlet, he said that it might have been dropped to misguide the investigators and give the incident a different turn.
Verma, however, said he was not in a position to say anything about the identity of the accused, adding the investigation was underway.
The SP also said the place of worship sustained just “five per cent damage” but also admitted that the attack had weakened its pillars.
Verma denied reports that the attackers were armed with swords and spears but said they were carrying lathis.
Meanwhile, a video showed the priest of the shrine and a devotee couple narrating the sequence of events.
The wounded priest, writhing in pain with one of his legs bandaged, said he was tied, bundled, and bashed by masked men.
The woman says at least 20 to 25 armed and masked people were involved in the incident.
In the video clip, the woman shows an injury she claimed to have suffered in the attack. She claims that her husband Abdul Rajjak was held captive and tied.
Meanwhile, members of the Muslim community took out a march against the incident in the Neemuch city. They handed over a memorandum to police officers seeking stern action against the attackers.
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