Pune blasts: Hindu groups want probe into mosque controversy
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Hindu organisations Monday asked Pune police to investigate if a Hindu-Muslim row over the construction of a mosque near Jangli Maharaj Road could have provoked last week's low-intensity serial bomb blasts. The groups said they suspected the attack could be a message to Hindus opposed to the mosque.
Representatives of seven groups — Samasta Hindu Aghadi, Pune Nagar Hindusabha, Shri Shiv Prathishtan, Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, Patil Pawan Sanghatna, Abhinav Nirman Pratishthan, Rahe Shivrai Pratishthan — accompanied by a Shiv Sena and a BJP corporator, submitted an application to DCP (Zone I) Makrand Ranade expressing their fears.
Speaking after Ranade met the groups, police sources said the mosque controversy was among the many angles they were pursuing and members of radical Hindu and Islamist organisations were being questioned. They had no leads yet to blame any group, they added.
The site of the disputed mosque is about half-a-km from Jangli Maharaj Road on which six bombs were placed on August 1. While four of them exploded and injured one person, two were defused.
The Haji Makkeshah Masjid Trust's mosque was reportedly destroyed during floods in Pune in 1961 caused by breaches in the Khadakwasla and Panshet dams. "Some Hindu organisations had objected to the construction of a new mosque at the site, claiming that no such mosque had existed in the vicinity. They claimed that the land belonged to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC)," said a senior Maharashtra police officer probing the blasts.
"There were protest marches in the city against the construction work which was underway, prompting the PMC and the police to halt the work to maintain law and order," the officer said. "Some months ago, the Maharashtra Home Department revoked a stay on the construction of the mosque. The matter went to court, following which an injunction plea regarding the stay on construction of the mosque was also rejected."
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