Gujarat ATS to investigate terror angle in Mufti Salman Azhari provocative speech case

In a major development in the Mufti Salman Azhari hate speech case, it has been reported that Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) will investigate a terror angle in the event.

Speaking to IndiaTV, Gujrat ATS SP Om Prakash Jat said that the event in a school compound in Junagadh on 31st January was organised as an ‘anti-drug awareness’ program. “This event was presented as an ‘anti-drugs awareness’ program, however, Maulana Salman Azhari in a planned manner delivered an inflammatory speech to incite communal hatred between two religious communities. In Junagadh, he (Azhari) also gave a similar provocative speech in the Samiyakhali police station area in Kutch,” Jat said.

The Gujarat ATS SP further informed that accused Mufti Azhari has a controversial history adding that multiple cases are lodged against him in various states. “In Karnataka, there are five FIRs against him and in Maharashtra as well…nearly double in Gujarat. So he has a history…We have also taken cognisance a Sufi Khanqah Association leader Mohammad Kausar Hasan Siddiqui’s allegation that Mufti Azhari has links with foreign terrorist organisations,” SP Jat said adding that the Sufi Khanqah president’s allegations that Mufti Azhari is working on the agenda of Ghazwa-e-Hind will also be investigated.

It is pertinent to note that Sufi Khanqah Association’s president Sufi Mohammad Kausar Hassan Majidi had on 5th February welcomed the arrest of Mufti Azhari. Raising concerns over Azhari’s activities, he said that Azhari has been following the pattern of Tablighi Jamaat and escalating communal tensions between Hindus and Muslims. He also accused Azhari of engaging in activities in sync with the “Ghazwa-e-Hind project”. The Sufi Khanqah Association head also added that Mufti Azhari received his education in Egypt and alleged that he is aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood ideology. Majidi accused Azhari of aiming to establish a system similar to Hamas in India to advance the Ghazwa-e-Hind project. He also pointed out that multiple cases against Azhari were filed in Hubli and Dharwad in Karnataka for trying to incite riots.

The Gujarat ATS officer further informed that an investigation will be launched into the financing of Al-Amaan Education and Welfare Trust run by Azhari as well as his activities and then further action will be taken.

When asked if the Gujarat ATS is not going to limit its probe to hate speech but will investigate radicalisation and alleged indirect support to terror activities, the ATS officer said, “Since he [Azhari] is an accused in this offence, his activities in addition to his Trust’s activities and financing will be investigated in detail,” SP Jat said adding that more stringent sections might be added in the case depending upon the findings of the investigation.

SP Om Prakash Jat also lauded the Maharashtra government, police and ATS for their crucial role in ensuring Mufti Azhari’s arrest and investigation as he recalled the day when a Muslim mob gathered outside Ghatkopar Police Station demanding the immediate release of Salman Azhari.

Notably, Mufti Azhari was granted bail by the Junagadh court in the hate speech case. Meanwhile, Kutch Police (East) is set to formally arrest him in another hate speech case filed against him in Samakhiyali.

On Wednesday, the Junagarh Local Crime Branch did not seek an extension of Azhari’s custody, however, it opposed the bail plea of the accused since an investigation is still ongoing in the matter. It further stated that it was in the process of gathering information about Rs 52 lakh put in the bank account of Azhari’s Al-Amaan Education and Welfare Trust and that it may require his custody in the days to come. Azhari, Yousuf Malek, and Azim Odedara, who were all arrested in the same case on Monday, were granted bail by the court.

On 31st January, Mufti Salman Azhari made derogatory remarks against the Hindu community during his 56-minute-long speech in Junagadh city of Gujarat. In the contentious video that went viral on social media, the radical Islamic preacher was heard saying, “The final battle of Karbala is yet to come… a moment of silence, then there will be noise again. The dogs are having their time today. Our time will come tomorrow.”

Before his ‘dog reference’, Salman Azhari spoke in the context of the Ram Mandir Pran Prathishtha at Ayodhya and the legal battle surrounding the disputed Gyanvapi Masjid in Varanasi.

“If you keep idols inside a mosque, then, it will not become an idol-worshipping place (referring to temples),” he had stated. Azhari defended the tendency of Islamic invaders to appropriate religious structures of non-Muslims and pagans.

“You have kept one idol ( at Ram Mandir) but there were 360 idols at Kaaba. Even then, the Kaaba belonged to the Muslims. This did not stop the Islamic pilgrimage of Hajj,” he continued. “…Dear Muslims, the revolution will begin from your homes. They (Hindus) do not dare to convert your mosques to idol-worshipping places (referring to temples). You have yourself abandoned the mosques,” Azhari further added.

As reported earlier, a second FIR against Azhari was registered in Samiyakhali in Kutch on 6th February after it came to light that Mufti Azhari had delivered a provocative speech in Samiyakhali before the viral Junagadh speech. Notably, the organiser of the event, identified as Mamad Khan Mori in Samakhiyali, Kutch, who sought permission for the event named “Dharmik Takrir”, has also been booked in the matter. The police and ATS are investigating the matter jointly.

Source: OpIndia

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