Lucknow, June 12: Muslim-dominated Siddharth Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh has been tense since the administration sealed a building which housed a masjid and a madrassa. The two had been running from the building for over a month now, said a report in The Indian Express. The complaint was apparently filed by Kapilvastu BJP MLA Shyam Dhani ‘Rahi’, in which he claimed that the building’s owner had permission for a house whereas there was a madrassa on the ground floor and a mosque on the first. (Also read: Hardliner Mentality Led to Communal Violence)

Refuting Dhani’s charges, the owner’s grandson said that the building was being used as a public building. He also claimed that the madrassa was affiliated to the UP Madrassa Board. On the MLA’s complaint, Sadar police station SHO Shamsher Bahadur Singh said, an FIR was lodged against building owner Hasmullah and his grandsons Saifudeen and Kamrudeen. “Preliminary inquiry revealed that Hasmullah got power connection by calling it a mosque. Last month, three loudspeakers were put up and an announcement was made that locals can pray there.”

“The area has Hindus too. We invoked IPC sections 295 and 295-A as it was alleged that actions of the accused could disturb communal harmony,” Singh is reported to have said. MLA Dhani said, “On May 17, an announcement was made that the mosque is Jama Masjid of the district and all Muslims of the district can offer prayers there.” Again, Saifudeen denied any such announcement was made. “The district administration is harassing us and we will move the court to get sealing removed,” he said.

Madrassas have lately been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Just a couple of months ago, a 35-year-old Madrassa teacher was arrested on the charges of sexually assaulting a 12-year-boy. The accused, Mohammed Abdul Zuber, was booked on Monday under the provisions of Pocso Act as well as IPC section 377 (unnatural sex) for sexually assaulting the boy, a class IV student, several times for last 10 months.