A deputy imam has been killed after a mob of far-right Hindus torched and opened fire at a mosque in a suburb of the Indian capital, New Delhi, hours after deadly communal violence in a nearby district.
The attack took place on Tuesday evening in the Ashok Nagar area, where eyewitnesses said dozens of armed men chanting Hindu slogans stormed the mosque and set it ablaze. They also fired shots at the people inside, killing the deputy imam and injuring several others.
The mosque’s caretaker, Mohammad Aslam, told local media that he managed to escape with some of the worshippers, but the deputy imam, identified as Maulana Akbar Ali, was trapped inside and died of bullet wounds.
“He was a very kind and gentle person. He had been serving the mosque for over 10 years. He had no enemies. He was killed for no reason,” Aslam said.
The attack came amid escalating tensions between Hindus and Muslims in New Delhi, following clashes over a controversial citizenship law that critics say discriminates against Muslims.
However, opposition parties and human rights groups have accused Modi’s government and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of stoking communal hatred and failing to protect minorities.