Minister's assault probed while mosque is burnt...

| 17 December 2001 23:46 IST

The state authorities here are not prepared to dismiss the incident of assault on union minister for state Shripad Naik by two youth on Sunday merely as an accident, though prima facie it appears to be so.

"Ninety nine per cent it is an accident. But I am not prepared to leave a chance of even one per cent", states chief minister Manohar Parrikar. He has thus ordered thorough probe into it.

The Goa-based union minister was assaulted by two Muslim youth yesterday after their motorcycle hit minister-driven private car from behind while taking a right turn near his residence, six kms from here. In the fit of anger, not knowing that he was a minister, they went and assaulted him while his bodyguard fired at them, injuring one of the brothers.

The BJP chief minister is however cent per cent certain that the incident of late last night of burning down a makeshift mosque and books of holy Koran in Socorro village, eight kms from Panaji, is not linked to the issue of Naik’s assault.

Following a complaint by locals, the police have now filed a case against unknown persons for inciting religious feelings, insulting religion and playing mischief by fire. Besides burning down Koran and the temporary shade built for prayers in a graveyard, the miscreants also damaged the front gate and the loudspeakers.

According to Parrikar, the mosque incident might have emerged out of intra-village rivalry over the location of the mosque while a new religious structure is coming up at other place. "It is definitely not a reaction to the assault on the minister", he claimed.

Though he does not go beyond condemning the issue of moque-burning as anti-social act and suspecting a foul play, Parrikar says he cannot rule out a plot behind Naik’s assault. "It is too early to say anything, but we are probing all possible angles", he adds.

According to him, suspicion has arisen because one of those boys studied his engineering in Suratkal in North Canara, which is very close to Bhatkal, a Muslim-dominated locality known for ISI activities. He also points out that educated people are being arrested in Delhi having connection with the attackers on the Parliament on 13 December.

"I am not blaming Muslims in general, but the fundamentalists among them", says the CM, stating that Muslim fundamentalists are more dangerous than Hindu fundamentalists because of their extra-territorial links with enemy countries like Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Parrikar today morning visited the site of the makeshift mosque at Socorro and assured them to get the damaged structure reconstructed at government cost.

Drop a comment

Enter The Code Displayed hereRefresh Image