A Muslim man was arrested and sent to jail on Saturday for offering ‘azan’ at a 250-year-old mosque in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli.
“The accused, identified as Umar Qureshi, is a resident of Jalalabad. He was booked under IPC section 505 (2) (promoting enmity) and IT Act following a complaint by Neeraj Kumar, a representative of a village head in Gausgarh,” Times of India quoted Shamli SP, Abhishek as saying.
The police claimed that Qureshi, in his early 20s, went to the site on Friday and tried to perform prayers, thereby violating a 1940 British order.
The structure, albeit partly in ruins, stands today. Muslims refer to it as a Mughal-era mosque, while Hindus associate it with Manahar rajas.
Hindu groups have been claiming that the region was a part of Manhar Fort since 1350, where Hindu kings of Manhar Kheda once held sway. Subsequently, the Mughals took control, bringing the area under the influence of Najeeb-ud-Daula and transforming it into a mosque, they claimed.
In 1940, a ‘panchayat,’ attended by the then DM and Maharaja of Jasmaur Riyasat, reached a deal. Following this, a British order stated that the structure should not be razed by Hindus, and Muslims should refrain from offering prayers at the site.