NO HINDU IDOLS IN TAJ MAHAL BASEMENT: ASI TO RTI PLEA
After a long-drawn controversy over the alleged presence of Hindu deity idols in the locked basement rooms of the Taj Mahal, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has finally settled the debate with a single-line answer to an RTI query. On June 3, a legal notice was sent to the Centre and the ASI by a group of petitioners seeking the relocation of idols of Hindu deities, which they claim are buried under the staircase of the mosque in the Taj Mahal premises. Trinamool Congress (TMC) spokesperson Saket Gokhale had sought information from the ASI about the monument’s history. Answering the RTI query of Gokhale seeking proof of the petitioners’ claim, the ASI has clearly said that there are no idols of Hindu gods and goddesses in the basement of the Taj Mahal, nor was the Taj Mahal built on temple land. The Central Public Relations officer Mahesh Chand Meena replied to this query in one line. He had written only ‘No’ in answer to the first question. In response to the second question, it was written that there is no idol of any deity in the cellars.
EIGHT MEN ASSAULTED BY UP COPS CLEARED OF ALL CHARGES
Eight men assaulted in custody by the police in a viral video after protests in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh last month have been cleared of all charges. After the police said there is no evidence against them, and the local court discharged them, they walked out of jail on July 3. This means their names are no longer in the FIR initially filed against 85 people for a violent protest over now-sacked BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s remarks against Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and Islam. Among the men now “honourably discharged” by court is Mohammed Ali, who had his arm fractured in the assault. Uttar Pradesh BJP MLA Shalabh Mani Tripathi had shared the video on Twitter with the caption “return gift for rioters”. Yogi Adityanath’s BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has come under severe criticism over alleged “extra-judicial” action against protesters.
LASHKAR TERRORIST IS JAMMU BJP’S MINORITY MORCHA IT CELL CHIEF
Talib Hussain Shah, a wanted Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist captured along with his accomplice in Jammu and Kashmir on July 4 was BJP Minority Morcha social media in-charge in Jammu. Two AK rifles, several grenades and other arms and ammunition was reportedly recovered from their possession. They were eventually handed over to the police. On May 9, the BJP appointed Shah as in-charge of the party’s IT and social media in Jammu province. “Mr. Talib Hussain Shah, at Draj Kotranka, Budhan, District Rajouri, shall be the new IT & Social Media Incharge BJP Minority Mocha Jammu Province with immediate effect,” read an order issued by the BJP Minority Morcha J&K. There are a number of pictures Shah has with senior BJP leaders, including J&K president Ravindra Raina. The BJP however blamed the system of online membership that is allowing people to join the party without any background check.
BJP SACKS HARYANA IT CELL INCHARGE FOR OLD TWEET ON ISLAM
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on July 7 removed its Haryana IT cell in-charge amid calls for his arrest over a five-year-old controversial tweet on Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and Islam. According to a statement issued by Haryana BJP secretary Gulshan Bhatia, the party’s state unit chief O P Dhankar removed Arun Yadav with immediate effect. Yadav’s tweet that went viral on social media dates back to 2017. While no complaint has been filed against the BJP functionary, there has been growing calls on social media for his arrest. #ArrestArunYadav was one of the top trends on Twitter with over 1.3 lakh tweets on the microblogging platform.
AN ‘ATTEMPT TO SHUT US DOWN’: AltNews
AltNews and its parent organisation, the Pravda Media Foundation, have issued a statement categorically denying allegation that they have received foreign funds, a report said on July 4. “Our payment platform through which we receive donations does not allow receipt of funds from foreign sources and we have received donations from Indian bank accounts only,” the statement reads. “All the donations collected through these means go to the organisation’s bank account.” The AltNews statement also responded to certain “source”-based news reports claiming that the police had found donations going directly to co-founder Mohammed Zubair’s account: “The allegation that individuals associated with the organisation have received funds in their personal accounts is also false since the individuals associated with the organisation only get monthly remuneration.” The baseless allegations being made, the organisation has said, are “an attempt to shut down the very critical work that we do, and we will fight this attempt to shut us down and come out on top”.
MUSLIMS PERFORM LAST RITES OF THEIR HINDU EMPLOYEE
Amidst the communal violence taking place in various places in India, a Muslim family in Bihar performed the last rites of a Hindu man, who used to work in their shop for over two decades. A video going viral on social media shows Mohammad Rizwan Khan carrying the body of Ramdev Sah on a bier. Sah used to work at the hosiery outlet of Khan in Patna for 25 years and was treated like a family member. Sah died at the age of 75 years last week. Besides, he was cremated as per the ritual of the Hindu religion by Khan and his family. The last rites were attended by many Muslim neighbours. “As age caught up with him and Mr Sah was not able to perform his duties, I asked him to take rest. I also told him that his salary will be paid and he doesn’t have to worry about anything,” he added. Khan stated that Sah was more like a guardian to him.
FOUR PERSONS INJURED IN KERUR COMMUNAL CLASHES
Three persons were stabbed in clashes between Hindus and Muslims in Karnataka’s Kerur town, The Hindu reported on July 7. A total of four persons were injured in the clashes. They are undergoing treatment at hospital and their condition is stable. While Arun Kattimani, Lakshman Kattimani and Chungi Yamanur received stab wounds, Bande Nawaz Gokak sustained a head injury. Two of the injured persons allegedly harassed women on July 6 night. An official release from the Tahsildar office reportedly said that a verbal fight between Kattimani and a man named Yasin Pendari turned violent, resulting in communal violence. Following the clashes, a group of miscreants also reported to have set on fire five vehicles and 10 pushcarts. The Hindu Jagarana Vedike, a Hindutva outfit affiliated to the RSS, was reportedly involved in the clash.