Army men, locals clash over eviction notice to mosque

Residents stone troops; police cane crowd to defuse situation

Army men, locals clash over eviction notice to mosque

Tension prevailed in Kaval Byrasandra following a clash between military personnel and locals on Wednesday. 

Clashes broke out after the Parachute Regiment Training Centre (PRTC) initiated an eviction process to take over administration of a mosque and a temple near Modi Garden in JC Nagar.

A few residents were injured when the military men started caning civilians who threw stones at them to prevent their entry into the mosque.

The army men formed a two-layer human chain, the first facing the crowd with lathis and the other armed with assault rifles.

The incident happened around 10 am when locals gathered for prayers at the Mysore Lancers Mosque. They found that a mud road leading to the mosque was blocked by debris on which a metal fence was also spread out. They also placed two boards directing the locals to use Gate No. 5, a detour of three kilometres, to reach the mosque.

Locals however, resisted this move. As the number of protesters increased, north division police deployed KSRP personnel. Senior army officials, including the Commandant and Deputy Commandant visited the spot with hundreds of recruits.

The situation turned volatile and the police feared things could go out of hand if the army men use their firearms against civilians. Caning of locals saved the day, a police source said.

Pulakeshinagar MLA Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy rushed to the spot to calm down the locals and request the army to soften their stand. Later, Chickpet MLA Zameer Ahmed Khan prevailed upon the agitating people to calm down.

He also explained to army officers that Bakrid was round the corner and the issue was sensitive. He told them they would organise a peace meeting on Monday between MLAs representing locals and the brigadier in-charge of PRTC and discuss the future course of action. By evening, the army men cleared the way, removed the fence before withdrawing their troops.

Notices sent by Speed Post, pasted on doors

The mosque premises includes quarters for three families, one for the Imam, the other for Mouzhan, and the third for the caretaker of the mosque. On Saturday, the three occupants received eviction notices through Speed Post from the city administration and on Tuesday, the defence personnel pasted eviction notices on their doors.

Eviction notices were also served on the two occupants of the Anjaneya temple, who moved out by Tuesday, the police said.

Decade-old dispute

Locals from Modi Garden claim the 117-year-old mosque is a property of the Wakf Board. There was a similar stand-off six months ago. “If the army claims the property, let it bring documents. We already have a court stay in 2011,” said a member of the mosque committee.

Meanwhile, the defence personnel in an official communication stated that mosque and temple are located on Defence land which was built for the troops of Mysore Lancers during the pre-Independence period. They claimed that certain people were staying on the premises illegally and served notices to vacate the same.

The army had even disconnected electricity and water supply to the mosque. The mosque draws electricity from a private resident and buys water from tankers.

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