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Two Imams Murdered in Separate UP Incidents

A series of killings of Islamic clerics within a week raises serious questions

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – Days after a leader of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind was hacked to death in Uttar Pradesh’s Pratapgarh district, imams of two different mosques were murdered by unidentified persons in the state.

On Tuesday morning, Maulana Akram, imam of a mosque in Moradabad District’s Bhensia village, was shot dead by unidentified assailants. Reports say the assailants called the imam out of the mosque and shot him dead from point-blank range.

The deceased, a resident of Rampur District, was living with his family in Bhensia village for the last 15 years.

The police said that the imam did not appear for the early morning prayers on Tuesday, suggesting the incident could have happened in the wee hours.

The imam’s body was found in his dilapidated house sending shockwaves in the village. He was shot in his chest and a pistol was found near his body. The police have taken the body under custody and further investigating the matter. Akram’s wife Aamna is also being questioned as part of the investigation.

The imam’s family members deny any animosity with anyone.

On Tuesday itself, a 50-year-old imam was murdered in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district. Fazlur Rahman, a resident of Balla Majra village, had gone to a nearby garden for some work along with his son. But he did not come back and was found beheaded sometime later. His head is also missing. The son is said to be mentally disabled.

Reports of the murder have come days after 67-year-old Maulana Farooq was killed in Pratapgarh’s Sonpur village. Farooq was the district general secretary of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind. Chandaram Tiwari, who is the prime accused in the murder, allegedly attacked Farooq with sharp weapons after some altercation.

Maulana Farooq’s family members deny any land dispute with the accused as has been reported in a section of the press. Farooq used to help him in Tiwari’s difficult situations, they maintain.

A series of killings of Islamic clerics within a week raises serious questions. Shaukat Ali, president of All India Majlise-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) in Uttar Pradesh, slammed the government for the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.

“Our Ulemas are being murdered continuously in Uttar Pradesh; the government is silent, the criminals are completely flouting the law and order, first in Pratapgarh, today in Bhensia village, Maulana Akram Sahib was shot dead by unknown people at 4.30 am. This is very sad,” said Ali.

He urged Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to provide compensation to the family members of the victims and nab the culprits as soon as possible.

Ali also slammed Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for not speaking up on the issue.

“This week, two of our Maulanas were murdered within 3 days, but those @yadavakhilesh @RahulGandhi who became big leaders of big parties by taking our votes are not ready to say anything. They are completely silent, whereas these same Ulema had also appealed to vote for INDIA bloc,” he said.  

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