There have been voices in support of Javed Mohammed, the alleged mastermind behind the violence in Prayagraj, whose house was demolished on Sunday.
On Friday, after the prayers, violence had broken out in Prayagraj with protestors hurling stones and homemade bombs. Protests were also staged in other parts of the state against former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma over her remarks on prophet Muhammad.
The double-storey house of Mohammed, also known as Javed Pump, was demolished in over five hours on Sunday.
His supporters said contrary to the allegations that he called for violence, Mohammed had appealed for peace through social media. One such appeal posted on May 21, on a social media account after a meeting with district officials, read, “…if the government follows the 1991 act on the places of worship there will be no ill will, there will be love between communities…the state shall continue to progress..”(sic.)
Activist Sharjeel Usmani took to Twitter to support Mohammed, calling him a community leader who used to file petitions against illegal encroachments and would ask the police and administration for help to remove such encroachments.
The Prayagraj police itself offered two different reasons for the demolition. One was that Mohammed had provoked violence and the second was that the house was illegally constructed and he hasn't been responding to notices sent to him in this regard.
Meanwhile, a direct fallout of the demolition has been that people in Atala locality, which had witnessed the most violence, started vacating their houses and shops for fear that these too may be demolished.
Mohammed’s wife Parveen Fatima petitioned the Allahabad High Court against the Prayagraj Development Authority (PDA) that the house which was in her name had been illegally demolished. She alleged that the house was gifted to her by her father during marriage and so could not be viewed as her husband’s property though her husband was entitled to use it.
Her lawyer K.K. Rai said the development authorities served a backdated notice to the family to vacate the house. “Two notices dated 10th and 20th May have been shown by the PDA, but these were actually served on June 11. The family was given less than 24 hours to vacate the house. I will ask the court to direct the PDA to reconstruct the house, and punish those responsible for the demolition”, Rai said.
Mohammed’s supporters said he was instrumental in establishing dialogue between the public and the administration during the anti-CAA protests in 2020, and was part of many peace committees formed by the local administration. On June 10, he had sent out WhatsApp messages appealing for peace after Friday prayers.