The priest of Nalhar Mahadev temple denied the false claim of Haryana home minister Anil Vij, which stated that “3000-4000 persons were held hostage in a temple” by Muslim rioters during the violence in Nuh. However, his claim, which quickly circulated on social media and media outlets, fuelled violence against Muslims in the state.
“The flow of pilgrims in the temple is generally high in the month of Saawan. Because of the Shobha Yatra on Monday, the number of devotees was very high. They kept coming in and going out during the Shobha Yatra,” Deepak Sharma, priest of the Nalhar Mahadev temple said to The Wire.
“How is it possible to keep these people hostage? They were in the shelter of the almighty. But suddenly they got to know that the situation outside is not good. Since the situation outside became bad, people got trapped inside (the temple),” he added.
““Nothing happened at the temple, it wasn’t attacked,” he said to The Quint, responding to some reports which said that the temple had been attacked by rioters.
The state home minister’s false statement, made while the clashes were still ongoing and not yet under control, exacerbated the situation and raised alarm on Monday about the severity of the attack against Muslims by the Hindutva groups.
After the state home minister’s statement about ‘Muslim rioters’ circulated through media and social media platforms, a 19-year-old Imam of the mosque in Gurugram was brutally stabbed 13 times with swords and killed by a Hindutva mob. The mosque was set ablaze, and numerous shops owned by Muslims were also destroyed by the members of the right wing groups.
A total of five people have been reported dead in the violence so far, including two home guards and two locals in Nuh and one Imam in Gurugram’s Sector 57.