TAASAN NEWS: After mobs burn down Muslim-owned businesses, a mosque, and its imam in northern Haryana state, the streets are desolate and tensions are high.

India's Gurugram - In Sector 57 in Gurugram, the Anjuman Jama mosque is abandoned. In front of the concrete building, which once held up to 450 worshippers but is now covered in rubble and ashes, about 10 police officers are stationed.

The mosque, one of the few Muslim houses of worship in Gurugram, a largely Hindu city near New Delhi, the capital of India, was purportedly attacked on the evening of July 31 by a Hindu far-right mob.

Interior designer Mohammad Faheem Kazmi expressed his shock and claimed he frequently prays at the burned-out mosque.

The 32-year-old, who has resided in the region since 2011, told Al Jazeera that "this attack was retaliation for Nuh."

When a Hindu religious parade in Nuh that was planned by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal, two Hindu far-right organisations allied with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), turned violent, at least four people were killed, including two policemen.

Stones were hurled at the march after several Muslim men stopped the religious procession, according to media sources and Nuh residents.

In response to the turmoil, authorities in Haryana have increased troop deployment, enacted a curfew, and shut down the internet. But residents claimed that despite the precautions, Hindu mobs continued to assault Muslim-owned businesses, residences, and places of worship in Gurugram and neighbouring towns like Sohna.

Shops in Gurugram's Sector 70A and Sector 66 were torched on Tuesday evening, while Bajrang Dal members held a rally in Haryana's Bahadurgarh city, shouting hateful slogans such as "Desh ke gaddaron ko, Goli maaro saalon ko" ("Shoot the traitors of our country") - a chant that was widely used by BJP politicians against Muslims during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in 2019 and 2020.


According to Gurugram Police Commissioner Kala Ramachandran, "some kiosks were damaged in arson" during the riots on Tuesday.

"Prima facie [On first glance] the men we collected up did not appear to be affiliated with any specific group. An investigation is still being conducted, she added.

The locations of the violence are only a few kilometres from the offices of businesses like Google and Deloitte in Gurugram, which has earned the nickname "millennium city" for drawing in global organisations and housing upscale retail malls.

A month before world leaders are scheduled to gather in New Delhi for a Group of 20 (G20) meeting, there has been turmoil in Haryana. The violence that occurred the day after a train security guard killed three Muslim passengers, one of his coworkers, and him in what many consider to be a hate crime has not received any remark from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In recent weeks, Modi has also been under fire for his silence over the ethnic unrest that has erupted in the northeastern state of Manipur for several weeks, killing over 130 people and displacing thousands into relief camps.

Manohar Lal Khattar, the chief minister of the state of Haryana, announced on Wednesday that 116 persons had been detained in relation to the unrest there.

He informed reporters that "the conspirators [behind the fighting in Nuh] are continuously being identified."

Khattar, a member of Modi's BJP, made no remarks regarding the killing of the imam. "Those who are found guilty won't get off easy. The public's safety is important to us, he said.

"Happened in police presence"

The elder brother of the murdered imam, Mohammad Saad, Shadab Anwar, however, claimed he had little confidence in the authorities because they have been charged with taking a partisan role in recent acts of violence against Muslims.

In 2020, unrest in New Delhi caused 53 people dead, predominantly Muslims. Police were accused of either doing nothing or occasionally assisting the violence.

Anwar claimed that he had spoken to his brother 30 minutes prior to his murder. Al Jazeera quoted him as stating, "He called me at 11:30pm saying the police were at the mosque and there is nothing to worry about."

Anwar claimed that he knew of the murder at around 2:30am. As he waited outside the mortuary to retrieve the body, he said that "this happened in the presence of police."


Four Hindu men from the neighbouring village of Tigra have been detained by police in connection with the mosque attack.

"The attackers tried to sever his head," Anwar claimed. There are a few stains. He was shot, and his chest bears evidence of knife use.

It was unable to independently verify his claims.

At around 12:10 a.m., Imran Qureshi, 43, who lives 100 metres (328 feet) from the mosque, reported hearing six gunshots. "Outside the mosque, there was a crowd of roughly 70 people yelling slogans. I was afraid," he admitted, adding that he intended to move to a region with a large Muslim population for safety.

Al Jazeera was informed by Gurugram Police Commissioner Ramachandran that an "armed mob" was responsible for the attack.

She remarked, "Security around mosques has been strengthened." "We have spoken with individuals from both communities and requested patience and cooperation."

Members of Hindu far-right outfits have been demonstrating in Gurugram recently against Muslims saying Friday prayers in public places. Most of the prayer locations' licences have been revoked by the authorities, and the Anjuman Jama mosque is one of the city's few remaining houses of worship.

Saad had written on social media around a month prior to his death: "Oh Allah, please make Hindustan [India] a place where Hindus and Muslims eat from the same plate."

How the violence in Sohna developed

Nearly 30km (18.6 miles) south of the Anjuman Jama mosque in Sohna town, a section of Muslim-owned businesses on the main road were burned to the ground as a result of the violence that occurred there on July 31.

Homes nearby had their windows shattered, cars had been set on fire, and there were stones and bricks all over the streets.

Azad Khan, 47, a local whose home was also attacked with stones, alleged that the mob torched solely the names of Muslims on the hoardings outside the shops.

Residents reported that at around 3:30 pm on that day, a Hindu right-wing mob bearing pistols and rods had gathered in the neighbourhood, which is home to 200–250 Muslim families.

According to Khan, who spoke to Al Jazeera, "They were yelling "Jai Shri Ram" [Hail Lord Ram] and said, "Muslims will be slain in the name of Ram."

Since Modi took office in 2014, far-right Hindu organisations have been accused of lynching scores of Muslims on the grounds of cow smuggling. One of their catchphrases is "Jai Shri Ram," which has become their battle cry.

"I have five sons, and they used to all hawk fruits across the street on carts. Hundreds of dollars worth of financial harm was caused, according to local resident Hamidan Begum, 60, who also claimed that the crowd

burnt their carts and stole the mangoes they had just come to sell.

The Shahi Jama mosque, located in the centre of Sohna town, was also attacked.

A group of 50–60 persons entered the mosque with their faces veiled, iron rods, and weapons in their hands, according to Shamim Ahmed, 48, the mosque's caretaker.

"I brought the kids inside and shut the door from the inside. I just kept holding the door while turning off the light," he stated.

The mosque's prayer hall was broken into, the window panes were damaged, and copies of the Quran were thrown to the ground.

Shamim's son Suhail Ahmed revealed to Al Jazeera that he asked the local Sikh minority for assistance by calling them.

"We hurried to the mosque as soon as we learned about the tragedy. The crowd was at that moment shooting. To protect the imam's family and children, we entered the mosque. The mob ran away," stated Sikh Aman Singh, age 21.

Singh asserted that the Hindu crowd would not have vandalised the mosque if the police had responded more quickly. There is currently a police squad stationed there for security.

According to locals, two additional mosques were destroyed by the Hindu mob the same night, 500 metres (1,640 feet) apart from Shahi Jama mosque.

According to Sharjeel Usmani, a Muslim activist based in New Delhi, "The only work left for Muslim activists in India is to count dead bodies, crowdfund for rebuilding destroyed and burned houses, collect donations for employment for those who have been injured, and to plead the police to file FIRs [police complaints].

Muslims in Nuh are afraid.

Residents of Nuh, which is around 25 kilometres (15.5 miles) south of Sohna, expressed concern that they would be the target of the recent conflict between Hindus and Muslims, which resulted in significant property and car damage.

Since the events of July 31, the only vehicles patrolling the district's roads are police jeeps.


The police detained roughly 17 Muslim men in connection with the incident, according to residents of Muradbas village.

Salim, 32, and Sajid, 26, according to Wakeel Sheikh, 49, were detained in a dawn raid on August 1.

"They have not allowed us to meet our children," he said to Al Jazeera.

Sheikh claimed that when the incident started, both of his nephews were at home. "They don't have a criminal history," he declared.

Similar tales were told by villagers in the nearby village of Malab.

Lawyer-by-profession Shahid Hussain, 32, alleged that police were detaining young Muslim males and wrongly charging them with violence.

Two teenagers from my community were detained today. Everyone is in fear. For fear of being detained by the authorities, nobody is leaving their homes, he claimed.

He continued, "They should be arresting Monu Manesar, but instead they are arresting innocent Muslims," alluding to the BD leader and cow vigilante who is charged with kidnapping, lynching, and setting burning two Muslim men in Haryana in February.

Varun Singla, the superintendent of police in Nuh, did not answer Al Jazeera's repeated phone and text enquiries on the claims of Muslim arrests made without cause.

According to the police, a total of 41 FIRs have been filed at various police stations.

Just who is Monu Manesar?

Rumours that Manesar was allegedly present in the area sparked the rioting in Nuh.

Before the conflicts, a video on social media showed Manesar promising to take part in the Nuh "Shobha Yatra" (procession) and urging many more to do the same.

However, the VHP, which has backed Manesar strongly, denied he went to the event on July 31.

"Monu [Manesar] was not at the yatra, nor was he going to come, and he didn't even put out any video statement about this yatra," Vinod Bansal, national spokesperson for the VHP, said to Al Jazeera.

He called it "fake propaganda" and said it was an effort by Muslims "to incite violence."

Bansal said that the attack on attendees was preplanned and that the VHP sought to organise the parade in a peaceful manner.

A group of 2,000–2,500 Muslims set fire to about 60 automobiles and a bus that were parked outside the Nalhar Mahadev temple, which is located outside of Nuh town and is about 4 miles (7 kilometres) away. The temple itself had not been attacked, according to Deepak Sharma, the temple's priest, who spoke to Al Jazeera.

Members of Hindu far-right organisations can be seen in videos broadcast online both before and after the attack spewing hatred towards Muslims.

Surendra Jain, a VHP member, is heard declaring in one of the recordings that Muslim-dominated Nuh is Mewat and that it always has been and always will be a Hindu territory.

Neeraj Vats, the leader of the Bajrang Dal, went live on Facebook after the violence near the temple and urged people to target Muslims in other regions of the state. Although you also reside in other towns, you could attack us in Nuh, he replied.

Hindu far-right organisations organised demonstrations on Wednesday throughout India's capital.

Aftab Ahmed, a local lawmaker for Nuh, characterised the district's violence as a failure of the government to control the situation.

"We are pleading with everyone to uphold peace and ignore rumours. The circumstances are unfortunate. I've never witnessed a police and government failure like this, Ahmed added.

Begum's neighbours in Sohna encouraged her to leave the city for a spell till peace reigned.

She questioned, "Where will I go?" They will arrive in search of Muslims everywhere.


News Source: Al Jazeera and India News Sources.

Author: Hameedullah Ghafoori