Lucknow: Political parties should refrain from using religion as a tool for serving their political interests, Maulana Adil Siddiqui, spokesperson of the Darul Uloom Deoband said, reacting to the suspension of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal. “The Samajwadi Party (SP) is pursuing its narrow political agenda under the cover of religion in order to gain the sympathy of the Muslim community. Instead of fuelling the controversy over the incident, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav should order a high level inquiry. It’s a serious matter if the wall of the mosque was indeed demolished,’’ he said.
Nagpal, a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) in Gautam Budh Nagar district who had launched a drive to curb illegal sand mining from the Yamuna and Hindon rivers, was suspended by the chief minister in the intervening night of 27-28 July, for allegedly demolishing the boundary wall of an under construction mosque in Kadalpur village.
While Mufti Arif Quasmi, a senior cleric of the Darul Uloom (waqf) , welcomed Nagpal’s suspension for allegedly demolishing the boundary wall of the mosque, he disapproved of the attempts of the government to use Muslims and the mosque in defence of its decision to penalize the officer. Another senior Deobandi cleric and Mohatamim (head) of the Madarsa Jamiatul Anwaria, Maulana Nasim Akhtar Shah Quaisar also endorsed his views.
Maintaining that the suspension of the young IAS officer had nothing to do with the demolition of the boundary wall of the mosque, the Secretary of the Jamat-e-Islami, Salim Engineer said, “This alacrity of the SP government was not seen when six Muslim youth were killed in police firing in Missouri, Ghaziabad district and several dozen Muslim houses were looted and torched in Astan village in Pratapgarh district in June 2012. If the SP government in UP is so concerned about the well-being of Muslims, then it should tell the people what punitive action it took against the police and civil administration officers for the three dozen riots in the state after Akhilesh Yadav took over as chief minister.’’
Mufti Arshad Faroqui, another senior Deobandi cleric and head of the Jamia Imam Mohammed Anwar Shah madarsa added, “The SP is known for these kinds of actions – be it a temple or a mosque, they use it as a ‘khilona’ (toy) for their power politics. As far as the reason for the IAS officer’s suspension is concerned, it’s the business of the government. All I know is that they should not drag religion and related institutions into the affairs of routine administration.’’
Senior cleric Mufti Arif Quasmi was equally critical of other political parties. “The SP is not alone in the business of using Muslims and their religious institutions for their political interests. The conduct of the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party has been no different.’’