The police have been deployed in village Patla of Sonipat district after the villagers toppled an under-construction shed and a wall being constructed around a graveyard on Tuesday evening “suspecting that a mosque was being built there”.
The local police visited the village on Thursday and assured the Muslim community members about their safety.
A panchayat department official said that BJP MP from Sonipat, Ramesh Kaushik, had sanctioned Rs 10.53 lakh from his Local Area Development fund for construction of a shed and wall around the graveyard land. Both works were nearing completion. According to the official, the land, which is little more than one acre, belongs to the Wakf Board.
Village sarpanch’s husband Anil Kumar said villagers suspected that a mosque was being built in the graveyard land premises. However, Noor Deen, a resident, said the suspicion was baseless as there were only about 15 Muslim families in the village. “We have already mosques in the neighbouring villages and there were no plans for any mosque in the village,” he said. The village, with a population of about 5000, is dominated by Rajputs.
According to Noor Deen (58), more than 100 youths went to topple the graveyard wall at 7 pm on Tuesday. “They were carrying iron implements to topple the wall,” he said. After getting information the police reached to the village. “There were only three three policemen there. They saved us by pushing three of us in their vehicle. Then they called more police to the spot.”
However, Anil Kumar said they had called a panchayat meeting on Wednesday in which the representatives from 4-5 villages participated. “The villagers made it clear that they (Muslims) can construct the wall and a hand pump, but not the mosque,” said Kumar.
SHO of Kundli police station, Praveen Kumar, said, “We are trying to resolve the matter. The police are still in the village. No police complaint has been lodged yet.”
However, Noor Deen said, “ We had plans to lodge a police complaint today. But the police advised us not to lodge the complaint, saying it would only be lodged by a junior engineer (panchayat department). The villagers have asked labourers from Bihari and us to leave the village. They are threatening us also.”
Patla village falls in the close proximity of the national capital. Noor Deen says Muslims here are engaged in the labour and agriculture activities.
What do you want now? “We only want peace in the village,” said Noor Deen.
About a dozen policemen are still in the village.