FAIZABAD police Sunday arrested two persons in connection with the October 12 blast at a mosque in Kotwali police station limits, which had occurred hours after two idols in a Shiva temple in Wazirganj area were found vandalised.
The low intensity blast did not result in any loss of lives with only the window panes of the mosque suffering some damage.
The two arrested have been identified as Rishabh Pathak (20) and Manmohan Singh alias Sher Singh (19) — both residents of Faizabad. While Rishabh is a businessman, Manmohan is a first-year student of polytechnic.
The police conceded that the bomb was hurled after reports of idol vandalism at the temple, located some 2 kms from the mosque in Mukaritola area, came in. Additional Superintendent of Police, Faizabad, R S Gautam said the two arrested stand accused of criminal conspiracy, with the police yet to arrest those who hurled the bomb.
The police said so far they have not found any evidence suggesting the two are affiliated to any political party or outfit.
Station House Officer, Kotwali police station, Hari Har Nath Mishra said the conclusion that the attack on mosque was a fallout of idol vandalism was drawn following the arrest of Raja Jaiswal, an activist of Hindu Yuva Vahini, on Thursday. Jaiswal was wanted in another case registered in July 2015.
While going through Raja’s cell phone, the police found a WhatsApp group, titled ‘Shri Ram Hindu Bhai’, containing several provocative messages in reaction to the vandalism of idols, the SHO said.
Based on these messages, the police arrested Rishabh and Manmohan from Civil Lines area in Faizabad Sunday.
According to the SHO, the two have confessed to their involvement, while claiming that they were “angry” over the damage done to the idols. The messages on the WhatsApp group, which has 80 members in it, had been exchanged on October 12 between 7.26 pm and 7:30 pm, less than an hour after the idols were reportedly found vandalised at 6.30 pm.
Around 11.35 pm, few hours after the messages had been exchanged, a bomb was hurled at the mosque, police said. Fearing arrest, Manmohan had deleted the message that purportedly exhorted putting bomb in a mosque, said the SHO. The police have recovered two cell phones from Manmohan and one from Rishabh.
Assistant Superintendent of Police, Faizabad, Yamuna Prasad said that both Rishabh and Manmohan had held a meeting with some of their close friends near the same temple where the idols had been found vandalised.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Mohit Gupta said they are yet to arrest anyone involved in the vandalism incident.
When contacted, Faizabad district president of Hindu Yuva Vahini, Rakesh Singh said Raja Jaiswal is a member of the outfit but that he needs to “cross-check” on the membership of the two who have been arrested.