4 booked for offering namaz at Mathura temple to spread ‘harmony’

The incident became known after ‘Khudai Khidmatgar’, the organization to which they belong, posted photos of the four offering namaz at the temple

A phtograph showing two members of ‘Khudai Khidmatgar’ offeting namaz at Nand Mahal temple in Mathura on October 2. Photo: Facebook

Four members of a Delhi-based social organization have been booked after two of them allegedly offered namaz at Nand Mahal temple in Mathura district last month. The organization, named ‘Khudai Khidmatgar’, claims to spread communal harmony. One of them, Faisal Khan, was arrested from Delhi on Monday.

The incident remained unnoticed for over a month. However, on Sunday, one of the four men shared the namaz photos on social media, saying it “showed communal harmony”. The other three have been identified as Chand Mohammed, Alok Ratan and Nilesh Gupta.

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The Mathura police registered a case against all four for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, defiling a place of worship and public mischief.

An FIR was lodged at Barsana police station in Mathura on the basis of a complaint filed by the temple caretaker. Temple authorities said the premises were repurified with ‘gangajal’ and a ‘havan’ on Monday.

“We have been informed that the incident is of October 29. Two of them were Muslims, and they had come to offer prayers. They were allowed inside as there was no religious discrimination. Later, the two Muslim youths offered their afternoon namaz inside the temple premises. On Sunday, some shared the photos of the incident on Facebook calling it an act of harmony. The temple staff then gave a complaint and an FIR was registered,” said Mathura SSP Gaurav Grover.

Khudai Khidmatgar spokesperson Pawan Yadav on Monday claimed that the temple staff allowed the two youths to offer namaz. However, temple authorities refuted the claim.

Temple caretaker Mukesh Goswami told The Indian Express that Khan claimed to be a follower of Hinduism and recited several shlokas after which they were allowed to visit the temple and offer prayers.

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“The one wearing the cap, Khan, talked to us very nicely and said that he was a Krishna bhakt… We allowed them to visit the temple,” said Goswami. A cleaning staffer later spotted the duo offering namaz. He said he suspected a conspiracy behind the act.

The accused told the police that they were on a 84-kos Braj parikrama (spread over more than 250 km) from October 26 to 29 to spread communal harmony and religious tolerance.

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