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VHP accused of terrorising Kathat Muslims in Rajasthan

Monday, June 08, 2009 11:50:31 AM, The Hindu


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Jaipur: The Kathat Muslim community in Beawar region of Ajmer district in Rajasthan has accused Vishwa Hindu Parishad and its associate outfits of unleashing a “reign of terror” in the garb of stopping so-called religious conversions. Kathat Muslims are the descendants of Chauhan rulers of erstwhile Rajputana who converted to Islam in the 14th Century.


The latest instance is that of a campaign launched by the VHP and Bajrang Dal against circumcision of about 40 boys at a ceremony in Shivpuri village on May 24 with the claim that it was done to bring the children to the fold of Islam. The Kathat community affirms that the boys belonged to practising Muslim families and were following their own religious custom.


Police have arrested a 65-year-old Kathat man and his wife on charges of forcibly conducting circumcision of their two grandsons with the intent of converting them to Islam and without obtaining the consent of the children’s parents. Interestingly, the complaint against the accused, Mangilal Kathat, was lodged by his own son, Rajesh.


Rajasthan Cheeta-Mehrat Kathat Mahasabha functionaries charged at a press conference here on Tuesday that the VHP and its sister organisations had vitiated the atmosphere in the Beawar region and launched a campaign against prominent members of the Kathat community with the claim that they were involved in religious conversion of Hindus.


“Kathats have been Muslims since 1395 when our ancestor, Hariraj Chauhan, converted voluntarily to Islam and was christened Daud Khan. Malwa ruler Alauddin Ghauri conferred on him the ‘Katha’ title in recognition of his bravery,” said Kathat Mahasabha president Mangu Khan, adding that VHP’s propaganda of Kathats not being Muslims was false and mischievous.


The Mahasabha affirmed that the circumcision was performed after obtaining the consent of parents of all boys. The FIR registered against Mr. Mangilal Kathat was the outcome of a family feud over division of property and the police allegedly acted in haste under the influence of VHP’s city functionaries, according to the Mahasabha.


Mr. Mangilal Kathat – a former Navy personnel and recipient of a bravery award – his wife Sakina and the man who performed circumcision, who are presently lodged in police custody in Beawar, face charges under Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 320 (causing grievous hurt) and 295-A (act intended to outrage religious feelings) of Indian Penal Code.


Mr. Khan said the VHP activists gathered in large numbers in the court compound when Mangilal Kathat and two other accused were produced there on May 27 and raised provocative slogans against the community.


An acquaintance of Mr. Mangilal Kathat who was just talking to him became the target of the activists’ ire and police detained him for causing nuisance and disturbing peace.


Kathat Mahasabha secretary Peeru Kathat said VHP’s campaign against the community had a political overtone too as Kathats voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Congress during the recent Lok Sabha elections, while the RSS combine wanted to create trouble for the Congress-led government in the State.


“The 10-lakh-strong Kathat Muslim community in the State has shown tremendous restraint in the face of grave provocation by the VHP and its associates. It is high time the State Government took tough action to rein in the communal outfits and stop their poisonous movement,” said Mr. Peeru Kathat.





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