UP police arrest man whose shop was vandalised in Himachal over animal sacrifice photo

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Arrested man in handcuffs with handcuffed hands behind back in prison

The police in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district have arrested a 20-year-old Muslim man from Jalalabad town who allegedly uploaded photos of animal sacrifice as his WhatsApp status on the occasion of Eid al-Adha.

After Javed Qureshi allegedly uploaded the photos, Hindu outfits on Wednesday vandalised a textiles and cosmetics shop that he and his brothers run in Nahan town of Himachal Pradesh’s Sirmaur district.

An inquiry was ordered by Raman Kumar Meena, Superintendent of Police, Sirmaur, after videos of the vandalism went viral on social media.

After an FIR was registered at a police station in Nahan, investigation revealed that the photos on Qureshi’s WhatsApp status had been uploaded from Shamli district, following which the police in Jalalabad town were requested to help trace him.

“An FIR under IPC sections 505 (conducting public mischief with intent to incite, any class or community) and 153A (words spoken or written attributed to the accused, created enmity or bad blood between different groups on the ground of religion, race, place of birth) was lodged at the Thana Bhawan police station on Saturday morning,” said Abhishek, Superintendent of Police, Shamli.

The police officer, however, made it clear that the animal depicted in the WhatsApp status was not protected under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960.

“Although the animal sacrificed in the WhatsApp photo by Javed was not that of any protected species the sacrifice of which is prohibited under the Act, what was in that photo was vibhast (disgusting),” he said.

“We raided Javed’s house on Saturday evening after the FIR was lodged, but he could not be found there. We got a tip-off about his hiding place on Saturday night and our team arrested him from there.

He will be handed over to the Himachal police after we complete our legal formalities in UP. The accused is in police custody at Thana Bhawan,” said Rajendra Prasad, in-charge of the police station.

Members of the Vyapar Mandal as well as the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in Nahan gave a bandh call for Wednesday claiming that the WhatsApp photos had hurt their religious sentiments. The vandalism and looting of Qureshi’s shop followed a procession held in Nahan on the same day.

Back in Shamli,Yashveer Maharaj, mahant of the Baghra Yog Sadhna Ashram Mandal, had threatened to hold a mahapanchayat in Jalalabad on June 24 if Qureshi and his family members were not arrested.

“Though the police have arrested Javed Qureshi, other members of his family who could be seen in the picture of animal sacrifice are still out of police reach.

We will decide our future course of agitation depending on the attitude of the Thana Bhawan police towards his family members who have hurt our religious sentiments,” said Yashveer Maharaj.