The situation in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, turned tense on Friday as followers of Ittehad-e-Millat Council chief Tauqeer Raza Khan took to the streets following his detention by the police. This came after Khan gave a ‘jail bharo’ call over the Gyanvapi case. Stone pelting was reported in the Shahmat Ganj area, resulting in one person being injured.
The District Magistrate confirmed that the police are investigating, and an FIR will be lodged.
Khan’s call for protest was in response to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s statement in the Assembly, suggesting Muslims should voluntarily give up their claim on the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi and Shahi Idgah mosque in Mathura.
Thousands of Khan’s supporters gathered after Friday prayers, with videos showing confrontations. Approximately 1,000 police personnel were deployed to maintain law and order, along with additional officers.
“It is the responsibility of all of us to register our protest peacefully with the right given in the Constitution for the protection of our places of worship. Even our right to speak is being snatched. We cannot tolerate nor see oppression under any circumstances. When we cannot do anything, it is better to get ourselves arrested than to have such freedom,” Khan said.
The situation remains tense, especially as Bareilly shares a border with Uttarakhand, where communal clashes occurred in Haldwani recently.
Reacting to the Haldwani incident, Khan stated, “If the government wants violence, we are ready.”
In his address to the UP Assembly, Adityanath referenced the disputed mosques, emphasizing the completion of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. He questioned the delay in infrastructure development in Ayodhya, Kashi, and Mathura, suggesting a hindrance to progress.