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Friday, June 2, 2023

Cop suspended for alleged use of force while dispersing mosque-goers violating Covid protocol: UP

A police post in-charge was suspended for allegedly beating up an Imam while trying to disperse people after the completion of the namaaz at a Mosque in Gorakhpur district of UP. The accused official, Arjun Singh, posted in-charge of Pandey Hata area that falls under the Rajghat police station, was trying to disperse the people after namaaz on Tuesday evening.

He is alleged to have later attacked Mohammad Hashim, the Imam. A video clip of the statement of the Imam had gone viral on social media on Wednesday evening.

In his statement, the Imam of Nai Masjid, Maulana Mohammad Hashim claimed that around 3.30 pm after Asra namaz he was in the mosque when the police outpost in charge, Arjun Singh, started dispersing people from the mosque in view of the Covid protocols.

The Imam alleged that Singh then turned towards him on the stairs of the mosque and beat him. He also allegedly used unparliamentary language and tore his clothes. What actually transpired between the Imam and the police officer is still not clear.

The Kotwali circle officer reached the spot and pacified the mob that quickly gathered.

SSP Dinesh Kumar P said, “On the report of Circle Officer Kotwali, the Pandey Hata police post in-charge Arjun Singh has been suspended. SP city is investigating the matter and further action would be taken on the basis of his report.” According to the Covid restrictions, a maximum of five people is allowed to gather at a time at one place to offer prayers.

From one perspective, the action taken by officer Singh is praiseworthy as not many from law enforcement dare to enforce the law in minority-dominated areas, fearing instant mob retaliation and following the unwritten code established by our Constitutional Institutions of overlooking such ‘secular’ crimes.

More often, we are used to seeing police abdicating their duty when Muslim crowds violate lockdown or social distancing norms. The most recent example was provided last Sunday by the thousands who flocked to the funeral of a Badaun cleric Salim Mian; ASP Pravin Chauhan  admitted that since it was a religious matter and a funeral, the police maintained ‘restraint’.

Such prompt action against a police officer after a mere accusation by a cleric from the minority community is also par for the course in our secular Republic. However, even when there is direct video/photo testimony about police brutality against a Hindu priest, or when a young Hindu devotee of Maa Durga like Anurag Poddar is shot dead in cold blood, action against the concerned police offcer is painfully slow, if it all, and usually turns out to be an eyewash.

(With IANS Inputs, Featured image – representational only)

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