Photo: PTI
Photo: PTI

In a controversial statement, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Sadhvi Prachi on Friday said that Hindus should go and perform 'havan' in mosques. Her statement, which came days after four persons were booked for offering namaz at a temple in Uttar Pradesh's Mathura, was reportedly retracted later.

According to several reports, Sadhvi Prachi said that she will go perform 'havan' at the "oldest mosque in Lucknow" in retaliation to the acts of those who offer namaz in temples.

She called this group the "bhaichara gang" who, in the name of social harmony go to temples and offer namaz. As a retaliatory measure, the VHP leader said that Hindus should also go to these mosques "which were built after desecrating temples" and demolish them and perform 'havan' there.

However, possibly anticipating the controversy, Sadhvi Prachi later retracted her statement.

Police arrested a man and booked three others on November 2 after a video clip showing members of their group offering namaz on the premises of a temple in Mathura surfaced on social media.

Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Minister Shrikant Sharma has termed the incident as an attempt to create differences between different communities in the state and said the accused won't be spared.

A temple priest said the group told him that they are on a "parikrama" (circumambulation) of the "Brij Chaurasi kos" on bicycles.

According to the FIR, the accused reportedly belonged to a Delhi-based organisation, Khudai Khidmatgar, and came to Mathura's Nand Baba temple on Thursday, where they first offered prayers.

An apprehension about funding by a foreign organisation has also been expressed in the FIR, registered under Sections 153-A, 295 and 505 of the IPC on Sunday.

The shrine was later "purified" as per the Hindu tradition, with "water from the holy Ganga and Yamuna".

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Free Press Journal