Right-Wing Outfit Hindu Janajagruti Samiti on Monday wrote to Indian Railways about a Muslim prayer hall at Bengaluru’s Krantiveer Sangoli Rayanna (KSR) Railway Station (Bengaluru Central), calling it a threat to national security.
The letter was sent hours after right-wing groups entered the ‘prayer hall’ on Monday. In a letter to the station manager, HJS spokesperson Mohan Gowda said that it is condemnable that the workers’ restroom on platform number 5 has been converted into a place of prayer by Muslims.
A Twitter handle on Sunday claimed the porters’ restroom at platform no. 6 had been converted into a room for conducting namaz. Subsequently, HJS members on Monday barged into the restroom while Muslims were offering prayers and demanded the cancellation of permission to conduct prayers.
The prayer hall has existed for several years now without causing anyone to oppose it. However, after the Hindutva outfits’ demand, the room has been converted back to a restroom.
The letter further said that this is a very serious issue and a threat from a national security point of view. “Bangalore KSR Railway Station is an important station in the state. Even though there are several mosques around the railway station, it seems a conspiracy to allow prayers to be offered on the platform. There may be a possibility of demand to change this place into a masjid.”
“Bengaluru has been made a hotbed of terrorist activities, indicating that the National Investigation Officers (NIA) arrested Adil Asadullah of West Bengal from Bengaluru Cantonment station in 2018. In 2019, the NIA arrested a terrorist, Mohammad Akram, from the Majestic area of Bengaluru (where the railway station is located). Police arrested a Bangladeshi terrorist, a member of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, who was hiding in the Cottonpet Mosque in Bengaluru.
In the letter, it has also been said that if no action is taken, there will be a strong protest.
Surprisingly, along with a prayer hall for Muslims, there is also a temple on the railway station premises. Videos of a temple and prayer hall for Christian have surfaced, with several people slamming the outfits’ move to cause turmoil between communal groups.
Talking to THG, Railways Senior Divisional Commercial Manager Krishna Reddy said, “The restroom was for porters, it’ll be used by them only. We want to maintain communal harmony between the different groups here. The porters can use the rest room for any purpose, including, bathing, offering prayers too (Namaz, Puja and Christian prayers). Let them all pray inside without disturbing anyone.”
HJS spokesperson Mohan Godwa told THG that as soon as they got to know that a porters room had been converted into a masjid, they went to station manager and “requested him not cancel permission to offer prayers there. This is an illegal and encroachment.”
Gowda claimed also that the temples has been there even before the railways were constructed, ” The temple has been here even before the railways extension. Everyone here does Puja in the temple.”
A senior railway official, on the condition of anonymity, said they had received the letter from the outfit but the claims made by them are baseless.
However, due the outrage caused by Hindutva groups, the room used as prayer hall by Muslims has now been converted back to a restroom. Several police officers are also deployed outside the room to reportedly maintain peace.
Karnataka has been witnessing rising number of attacks against minorities by Hindu right wing groups from past few months.