The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) will now investigate a potential terror angle in the Mufti Salman Azhari hate speech case. According to Gujarat ATS SP Om Prakash Jat, the event initially presented as an ‘anti-drug awareness’ program, saw Azhari delivering an inflammatory speech aimed at inciting communal hatred. Azhari has a history of controversy, with multiple cases against him in various states, including Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Gujarat.
Speaking to IndiaTV, Gujrat ATS SP Om Prakash Jat said that the event in a school compound in Junagadh on 31st January was organised as an ‘anti-drug awareness’ program. “This event was presented as an ‘anti-drugs awareness’ program, however, Maulana Salman Azhari in a planned manner delivered an inflammatory speech with the purpose of inciting communal hatred between two religious communities. Not only in Junagadh, but he (Azhari) also gave a similar provocative speech in the Samiyakhali police station area in Kutch,” Jat said.
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Additionally, allegations have been made by Sufi Khanqah Association leader Mohammad Kausar Hasan Siddiqui, suggesting Azhari’s links to foreign terrorist organisations and his alignment with the ideology of Ghazwa-e-Hind. The Sufi Khanqah Association’s president has welcomed Azhari’s arrest and raised concerns over his activities, accusing him of escalating communal tensions and aiming to establish a system similar to Hamas in India to advance the Ghazwa-e-Hind project.
“In Karnataka, there are five FIRs against him and in Maharashtra as well…nearly double in Gujarat. So he has a history…We have also taken cognisance a Sufi Khanqah Association leader Mohammad Kausar Hasan Siddiqui’s allegation that Mufti Azhari has links with foreign terrorist organisations,” SP Jat said adding that the Sufi Khanqah president’s allegations that Mufti Azhari is working on the agenda of Ghazwa-e-Hind will also be investigated.
The Sufi Khanqah Association’s president, Sufi Mohammad Kausar Hassan Majidi, welcomed Mufti Azhari’s arrest on February 5th. Expressing concerns about Azhari’s actions, Majidi accused him of following the pattern of Tablighi Jamaat and stoking communal tensions between Hindus and Muslims. He also alleged Azhari’s involvement in activities aligned with the “Ghazwa-e-Hind project.”
Additionally, Majidi claimed that Azhari, educated in Egypt, is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood ideology and aims to establish a system similar to Hamas in India to further the Ghazwa-e-Hind project. Furthermore, Majidi highlighted multiple cases filed against Azhari in Hubli and Dharwad in Karnataka for attempting to incite riots.
The Gujarat ATS officer elaborated that an investigation will commence into the financing of Al-Amaan Education and Welfare Trust, overseen by Azhari, alongside his activities, with further actions to follow. Addressing inquiries about the scope of the probe, the ATS officer emphasised, “Since he [Azhari] is an accused in this offense, his activities, along with those of his Trust, will be thoroughly investigated.” SP Jat added that more severe charges might be considered based on the investigation’s outcomes.
SP Om Prakash Jat commended the Maharashtra government, police, and ATS for their pivotal role in arresting and investigating Mufti Azhari, recalling the day when a Muslim crowd gathered outside Ghatkopar Police Station, demanding Azhari’s immediate release.
It’s worth noting that Mufti Azhari was granted bail by the Junagadh court in the hate speech case. Meanwhile, Kutch Police (East) is preparing to formally arrest him in another hate speech case lodged against him in Samakhiyali.
The Junagarh Local Crime Branch opted not to seek an extension of Azhari’s custody on Wednesday. However, it opposed the bail plea of the accused, citing an ongoing investigation. The branch mentioned its efforts to gather information about the Rs 52 lakh deposited into Azhari’s Al-Amaan Education and Welfare Trust account, hinting at the potential need for Azhari’s custody in the future. Azhari, along with Yousuf Malek and Azim Odedara, all arrested in connection with the same case on Monday, were granted bail by the court.
On January 31st, Mufti Salman Azhari delivered derogatory remarks against the Hindu community during his 56-minute speech in Junagadh city, Gujarat. In the viral video, the radical Islamic preacher referenced the final battle of Karbala, stating, “The dogs are having their time today. Our time will come tomorrow.”
Prior to his controversial remarks, Azhari discussed the Ram Mandir Pran Prathishtha in Ayodhya and the legal battle surrounding the disputed Gyanvapi Masjid in Varanasi. He defended the historical practice of Islamic invaders appropriating religious structures of non-Muslims and pagans.
Azhari also compared the murti at Ram Mandir to the multiple idols at Kaaba, emphasising that the latter still belonged to Muslims despite the presence of idols. He urged Muslims to initiate change from within their homes, claiming Hindus didn’t dare convert mosques into temples because Muslims had abandoned the mosques themselves.
A second FIR against Azhari was filed in Samiyakhali, Kutch, on February 6th, following revelations of his provocative speech there prior to the Junagadh incident. The organiser of the event, identified as Mamad Khan Mori in Samakhiyali, Kutch, who sought permission for the “Dharmik Takrir” event, has also been booked. Both the police and ATS are jointly investigating the matter.