Mosque built with community funds, Village Headman denies NIA terror funding charge

Written by CJP | Published on: October 15, 2018
Strongly refuting multiple media feeds, the village headman denies the charges. The Khulafa-e-Rashideen mosque in Palwal was searched by NIA officers after they had arrested 3 men, including the Imam, Mohammed Salman, in New Delhi in an alleged terror-funding case

Haryana Village

Photo courtesy: social media

Strongly denying the allegation by the National Investigation Agency, Palawal village headman has asserted that the mosque was built on legally-obtained land and was funded by people from many villages, “The land has been obtained legally and people from many villages have funded the construction of this mosque," said Ramesh Prajapati, the headman of Uttawar village reported National Herald.

In a press release that was covered extensively, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday, October 15, has stated that Khulafa-e-Rashideen mosque in Palwal, Haryana, was allegedly built on funds received from Hafiz Saeed-led Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) of Pakistan. This came to the light during the investigation into an alleged terror funding case, the agency said.

ANI Tweet

Three men, including the Imam of the mosque, Mohammed Salman, were arrested for allegedly receiving a funding from Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) in Lahore. FIF was set up by the parent organisation of Lashkar, Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD).

Coming out in support of Salman, the villagers said that he was raised in a reputed family and he is unlikely to commit such a crime. According to residents of the village, Salman’s father, late Maulvi Dawood, is well-regarded among Muslims in the Mewat region. He moved to Delhi more than 50 years ago and was an Imam of a significant mosque in Nizamuddin till his death. For the villagers in Uttawar, he was an authority on Islam and had the final say in all disputes in the village.

This Facebook post of Aftab Alam adds, “In the village of Uttawar, however, few buy the NIA story. Most believe it is a result of a court battle between the villagers and some families squatting on the mosque land. “Because we are trying to evict them, it appears someone has given this wrong information to the police. No one in the village can believe such a thing. Salman comes from a very reputed family in the village. No one from his family has ever had a criminal case against them,” said Khalid Hussain. Hussain was present at the mosque when it was searched and is the son of former Uttawar Sarpanch, Akhtar Hussain.

Thus goes the NIA version:
“A mosque in Haryana's Palwal was built with funds from Lashkar-e-Taiba. Imam of the mosque, Mohd Salman, had received ₹70 Lakh from a Dubai based Pakistani citizen Kamran. It is believed that Kamran is working for LeT. It provides fund for terrorist activities in India,” said an NIA official.

On October 3, the NIA arrested Mohammed Salim and Sajjad Abdul Wani apart from the mosque's Imam. They further questioned the office holders of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen masjid at Uttawar village in Palwal and probing the matter while scrutinizing account books, donations received and documents.

According to sources, Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation gave the Imam Rs 70 lakh to construct the mosque. Salman, the Imam, came in contact with LeT people during his trip to Dubai. The NIA has said that Salman went to Dubai after his Umrah. He met a Pakistani native in Dubai and started getting funds through hawala, as per the report.

"It even gave him money for the marriage of his daughters. We are now probing from where the mosque has been receiving its donations and how this money is being used," an NIA officer said.

As per NIA’s investigation, Salman was involved in taxi and dairy product businesses but had incurred losses. Later, he went to Saudi Arabia for Umrah. “He also visited Dubai a few years back where he met few Pakistani nationals and thereafter started getting funds through hawala,” said an NIA officer.