Indian Police Arrest Mentally Ill Muslim Man for Burning the Quran

A mentally challenged Muslim man has been arrested over burning a Quran inside a mosque as protests broke out in Uttar Pradesh, India.

On November 2nd, four copies of the Quran were discovered burned in a mosque, sparking protests in Shahjahanpur town of Uttar Pradesh. The following day, one man was detained by police in connection with the case; he was identified as a Muslim man who claimed himself as “mentally sick.”

Huzoor Ahmad Manzari, Chief Imam of Shahjahanpur, said that the individual in the CCTV camera resembles the man arrested.

The incident occurred in the Shah Fakhre Alam Mian Mosque, situated in the Mohalla Bavujai of the Chowk Kotwali neighborhood of Shahjahanpur town.

As the news spread in the city, hundreds gathered near the mosque to condemn the blasphemous act. However, some angry Muslims allegedly set fire to banners and hoardings and staged a protest demanding the arrest of the person responsible. Some of them screamed slogans against the police administration and accused the authorities of being slow to respond to their complaints and arriving at the scene. There were also reports of stone pelting in the vicinity.

In several places, the protestors reportedly faced baton charges from the police. Additionally, police officers had to put out small flames in the streets. The police and priests pleaded with the mob to keep calm, and the situation was eventually controlled. Since then, numerous areas of the town have been reinforced with substantial police presence.

On Wednesday, Superintendent of Police (SP), S. Anand, said in a statement that the police had received information that several pages of the religious book had been desecrated at a local house of worship. He also mentioned that the police spoke with protesters and registered a First Information Report (FIR). According to him, they are also checking the CCTV camera footage to find the criminals.

After reviewing numerous CCTV tapes, Ramit Sharma, Inspector General Police (IG) of Bareilly Range, informed the media that the accused could be seen purchasing water from a convenience store in the area. He has been identified as Taj Mohammad. Police said he seemed unstable during his interview, telling them, “It’s not me, but my soul has burnt it.”

SP Anand said that the criminals who caused a commotion in the town were caught on videotape. He added that the police would identify them, and "stern action" will be taken against them.

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