The police arrested four men on Tuesday after they chanted Hanuman Chalisa at an idgah, a day after namaaz offered on the premises of a temple in Mathura triggered a row.
New sections have also been added in the FIR registered over the namaaz incident. The police are now accusing those involved in it of cheating for calling their outfit ‘Khudai Khidmatgar’, an organisation linked to legendary freedom fighter Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan.
One of the four men arrested over Tuesday's Hanuman Chalisa recitation claims to be a local leader of the BJP's youth wing.
The men, aged between 18 and 25, entered the idgah on the Goverdhan-Barsana road and recited the Hindu prayer, the police said.
The police in Goverdhan town, about 20 km from Mathura, arrested them for disturbing peace and registered an FIR under section 151 of the CrPC. The provision allows an arrest to prevent a crime from being committed.
Saurabh Nambardar, Raghav Mittal, Rauki and Kanha were produced in the court of Goverdhan sub-divisional magistrate Rahul Yadav, who ordered their release on a surety of Rs 2 lakh each.
On his Facebook page, Nambardar describes himself as a local office-bearer of the BJYM, the BJP's youth wing. He also claims to be a leader with two little-known outfits --- ‘Modi Sangh’ and ‘Azad Sena’.
In a video clip on social media, one of the arrested men is heard saying that if namaaz can be offered for communal harmony in a temple, reciting Hanuman Chalisa should be allowed in a mosque.
A lawyer for the idgah said the police acted quickly when they were informed about the incident.
Meanwhile, another court remanded Faisal Khan, arrested on Monday after he offered namaaz on the premises of a Mathura temple, to 14 days in judicial custody.
Khan tested positive for coronavirus and was admitted in KD Medical College hospital in Mathura, the police said.
Instead of the accused being escorted into the courtroom, Chhata judicial magistrate Swati Singh went up to the vehicle in which Khan was brought. The move was described as a precautionary step to prevent the spread of the infection.
Khan's Khudai Khidmatgar has claimed that Faisal Khan offered namaaz in the temple complex only with permission, but the priest who filed the complaint has denied this.
Apart from Faisal Khan, three others who visited the Nand Baba temple last week with him were booked by the police. The Mathura police arrested Khan in Delhi, where his organisation is based.
The police on Tuesday said they have added more sections in the FIR registered against him, this time for claiming to be part of Khudai Khidmatgar.
Superintendent of Police Shrish Chandra said Khudai Khidmatgar went “virtually defunct” after the freedom-fighter's death and Khan could not prove “how he is a member of the parental organization”.
The three other accused in the namaaz case are identified as Chand Mohammad, Alok Ratan and Neelesh Gupta.
According to the FIR, they came to the temple on Thursday and Khan chanted a few lines from the Ramcharitmanas there.
The group members told the priest that they are on a parikrama (circumambulation) of the ‘Brij Chaurasi kos’ on bicycles, according to the FIR against them.
In a statement issued later, the Delhi-based organisation said when Khan was looking around for a place to offer his afternoon namaaz, the people at the temple asked him to do so in the same compound.
According to the organisation, they asked why he needed to go elsewhere when “you are already in the home of God”.
The statement said the Khudai Khidmatgar members also had their lunch in the temple. “Everything was fine,” it said.
It added that the organisation counters any form of religious extremism and believes in peace, love and communal harmony.