The Uttarakhand police have registered a first information report (FIR) in connection with the demolition of mazars in Rishikesh on August 29 which was broadcast live on social media and asked X, formerly Twitter, to share details of the people behind it.
KR Pandey, station house officer (SHO) at Rishikesh Police Station, said the mazars were built on private land with the consent of the landowners and demolished with their consent. The FIR was, however, registered suo motu by the police under Section 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) because of statements made during the demolition.
“We have not arrested any culprit in the case”, he said, adding that they have sought details of the people who uploaded the video on the micro-blogging platform, X.
In one of the videos, a group of men are seen using sledgehammers to break down the concrete mazar in Rishikesh’s Amitgram area while others chant, “Jai Shri Ram’. In a second video, a bulldozer was used to bring down the structure.
Police said the videos relate to demolitions carried out by the “unknown miscreants” on August 27 and 28.
A right-wing group Devbhoomi Raksha Abhiyan, which was accused of putting up posters in Uttarkashi’s Purola 200km away to leave the town or face consequences in June, has claimed responsibility for pulling down the mazars in Rishikesh.
The group claimed the mazars were built illegally.
Swami Darshan Bharti, who founded the outfit, said it wasn’t an offence to demolish the illegal mazars and that they have 25 more on their list.
“We demolished the structures built on the land owned by Hindus in Rishikesh by persuading them. My associates also broadcasted live on social media to enlighten Hindus against Mazars. I don’t think it is an offence. If the police have filed an FIR, we will speak to them… We have identified around 25 such mazars built on the land owned by Hindus and we will demolish them all,” he said.