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Seven held in Ayodhya for throwing posters, torn religious text outside mosque: UP Police

Ayodhya Police said the seven arrested persons have been identified as Mahesh Kumar Mishra, Pratyush Srivastava, Nitin Kumar, Deepak Kumar Gaur alias Gunjan, Brijesh Pandey, Shatrughan Prajapati and Vimal Pandey – all residents of Ayodhya district.

Written by Asad Rehman | Lucknow |
Updated: April 29, 2022 4:38:10 pm
In a statement, Ayodhya police said that Mahesh Kumar Mishra was the “mastermind” of the incident. (Representational)

Seven persons were arrested in Ayodhya on Thursday for throwing objectionable posters and torn pages of religious texts outside three mosques and a shrine in what police said was their attempt to disturb the peace to protest against “the recent incident in Delhi”.

The accused have been identified as Mahesh Kumar Mishra, Pratyush Srivastava, Nitin Kumar, Deepak Kumar Gaur alias Gunjan, Brijesh Pandey, Shatrughan Prajapati and Vimal Pandey — all residents of Ayodhya district. Police said while the youngest, Gaur, is 22 years old, the oldest, Mishra, is 37.

The accused have been booked under IPC Sections 295 (injuring or defiling places of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class), and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs).

In a statement, Ayodhya police said Mishra was the “mastermind”, and the acts were planned “in opposition to the recent incident in Delhi”. Police sources said the reference was to the violence in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri earlier this month.

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According to the police, objectionable items were thrown outside three mosques — Taatshah Jama Masjid, Masjid Ghosiyana, Kashmiri Mohalla Masjid — and a shrine of Gulab Shah Baba, under Kotwali police station, on Wednesday night. Police said 11 people were involved in the incident; four are absconding.

“A total of eight persons on four motorcycles, led by Mishra, threw objectionable posters and objects outside the mosques and the shrine. The objects were recovered, and the motorcycles have been impounded. After collecting the evidence, police teams were able to piece together the chain of events,” Senior Superintendent of Police (Ayodhya) Shailesh Kumar Pandey said at a press conference.

“While seven persons have been arrested, four others are absconding. We will arrest them soon. During questioning of those arrested, it came to light that they wanted to ruin the amicable atmosphere and peaceful tradition of this city,” he said. “The law and order situation is under control and no untoward incident has happened since the incident,” he said.

Mishra has four prior cases against him, including promoting enmity between groups and criminal intimidation. “All four cases against him are lodged at Ayodhya Kotwali police station,” said a police officer.

“On Wednesday, around 10 pm, they were at Mishra’s house, where they made objectionable posters. They could not carry out their plan at a mosque as a police van was stationed there. So they went to three different mosques and threw the objectionable items outside,” said police.

A senior police officer said the seven claimed to be members of a group called “Hindu Yodha Sangathan”. “Basically, Mishra runs this so-called outfit. It has not been registered, and doesn’t even have an office. Mishra is the one who incited the others. The accused have no affiliation with any political party or any registered outfit,” said the officer. “They all hail from lower middle-class families,” he said.

Police said strict action will be taken against those involved in the incident.

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