Talks on new TN mosque issue fail, situation tense

The issue of construction of a new mosque in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore district continues unresolved after talks between Hindu and Muslim groups failed, and the situation continues to be tense with heavy police deployment at the site.

The issue snowballed into a major controversy after some Hindus, under the umbrella of Hindu Munnani, opposed the construction of the mosque on Sarakar Mundy street, arguing that there were three temples in the area, and that the processions from these temples during festivals will go through the street and could lead to confrontation.

Muslim leaders of the area complained that the action of blocking the construction of the mosque by the Hindu leaders was an act of denying religious freedom.

The district administration had called for talks with both the parties at Vellore District Collector’s office but Muslim leaders refused to participate.

The Muslim leaders met Superintendent of Police Rajesh Kannan and ADO Vishnu Priya separately and said that the matter has been resolved. However, Hindu Munnani leaders said that they had submitted all the documents related to the building which was converted to a mosque recently, and said that it was a shop.

Hindu Munnani regional President K. Mahesh, told media persons that Muslims claim that it is a very old mosque “but we have submitted records including patta stating that the controversial site was a shop and there are no records of a mosque there. Also, there are no Muslims in that street, so why do they want a mosque”.

Hindu Munnani leaders also said that the district administration did not provide proper answers to their questions regarding ownership of the land and other legal aspects.

Muslim leaders had claimed that the mosque was in existence at the same place since 1866 and have also said that they had revenue records and Wakf board documents to support it.

“We have deployed a strong police contingent in the area as we don’t want to take any risk of the law and order situation being disturbed,” a police official told IANS.

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