Faisal Khan’s commitment to communal harmony and peace is exemplary: his arrest is sad

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By Dr Sandeep Pandey, Copy Edited by Humra Kidwai: Uttar Pradesh police arrested Faisal Khan in Delhi and brought him to Mathura on 2nd November 2020 but so far neither he has been presented in the court nor police-administration is willing to provide any information about him.

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Recently Faisal Khan, Chand Mohammad, Alok Ratan and Nilesh Gupta took out ’84 Kos Parikrama’ of Braj in Mathura during which they  paid a visit to Nand Baba Mandir. They received the Prasada from this temple and Faisal recited verses from Ramcharitmanas to the priest. The priest happily allowed him to offer Namaz inside the premises on 29 October 2020. When the photographs of Faisal Khan and Chand Mohammad offering Namaz in the temple premises went viral, then it appears as if someone with maligned intent asked the priest to lodge a police complaint. That is why after 3 days of this incident, on 1st of November 2020, a first information report was lodged. All four people who took out the 84 kos parkirama have been charged with Indian Penal Code sections 153A, 295 and 505. On 2nd November 2020, UP Police arrested Faisal Khan from Delhi and took him to Mathura.

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There is a contradiction in charges slapped by the police. Those who are taking out 84 Kos Parikrama for peace and communal harmony in Mathura how can they have the objective of inciting religious sentiments of anyone? Followers of Hindu faith should be happy that people from other faiths are also taking out 84 Kos Parkirama as per Hindu traditions and customs and receiving blessings and prasada from their temple. Moreover, all religions overall believe that there is one God. Then what difference does it make if we worship the God differently? Some people Tmay worship by offering Namaz. Our destination is the same, even if we take different routes. Those who will listen to the voice of reason will not have any objection to this. But if someone wants to leverage political mileage out of religion or polarise communities on religious sentiments then such a person will make an issue out of this incident.

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Faisal Khan is also a trustee of Sarva Dharma Sadbhava Kendra Trust located in Ram Janaki Mandir in Durahi Kuan, Sarju Kunj, Ayodhya. There is a plan to develop an all-faith communal harmony centre in this Ram Janaki Temple where Acharya Yugal Kishore Sharan Shastri is the priest. Faisal Khan has offered Namaz several times in this temple. People of all faith and caste including Dalits are welcome in this temple. There is also a langar (kitchen) organized at this temple everyday like in Gurudwaras. The committee which manages the langar is headed by Danish Ahmed of Faizabad. One of the objectives of the religion is to encourage people to live in harmony and peace with each other. If people use religion to incite discontent or divide then this cannot be a called a religious act.

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Faisal Khan also organised a march from Delhi to Haridwar in March 2019 to support Brahmachari Atmabodhanand, who was sitting on a fast in Matra Sadan Ashram to demand a law to protect the river Ganga. Faisal also took head of Matra Sadan Swami Shivanand in February 2020 to Delhi so that he can distribute relief materials for victims of communal riots in the camp, and also help with restoring a damaged Mosque. Faisal Khan is doing important work of an antidote to the poison that communal forces are spreading in the society. That is why it is even more shocking to see the charges under which Faisal Khan was arrested.

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We hope that the society will understand Faisal Khan and his spirit and stand along with those who are trying to maintain and strengthen communal harmony and peace rather than those who are trying to divide us for their selfish gains. We also demand that UP government and police should correct its mistakes and withdraw all charges against Faisal Khan and his colleagues and release them with due respect.

Source: Press Release

Acharya Yugal Kishore Sharan Shastri, Mahant, Ram Janaki Mandir, Saryu Kunj, Durahi Kuan, Ayodhya

Dr Sandeep Pandey, Vice President, Socialist Party (India)

Father Anand, Varansai

Professor Vipin Tripathi, Former Professor, IIT, Delhi

Sunita Vishwanath, Hindus for Human Rights, New York

Curated by Humra Kidwai

Sandeep Pandey

Sandeep Pandey is an Indian social activist. Magsaysay Award recipient, Gandhian and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He is also a co-founder of Asha for Education. He is a Former Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar.

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