Ayodhya: Prime Accused in Attempt to Stir Riots Is a History-Sheeter, Muslim Baiter

On multiple occasions, Mahesh Mishra has vowed to 'kill' Muslims, called for the economic boycott of the minority community and claimed to have a 'hit-list of anti-nationals'. He has seldom faced any action.

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New Delhi: Mahesh Mishra is the prime accused in the recent incident in Ayodhya, where a group of persons threw pieces of pork, letters abusing Muslims and torn pages of an Islamic text at some mosques and shrines in the town in an apparent attempt to instigate communal violence.

An investigation by The Wire into his social media profiles has revealed that Mishra is a habitual offender. Infamous in Ayodhya for inciting violence in the past, Mishra, on multiple occasions, has vowed to “kill” Muslims, called for the economic boycott of Muslims, and claimed to have prepared a “hit-list of anti-nationals” whom he wants to be killed.

More often than not, his rabble-rousing speeches and bigoted views have attracted no criminal charges and punishment. 

According to the Uttar Pradesh Police, a Hindu fundamentalist outfit ‘Hindu Yodha Sangathan’ headed by Mishra was responsible for the the attempts to instigate communal violence in Ayodhya. It was thwarted by the police. Mishra, a “history-sheeter”, has four criminal cases registered against him. 

Also read: ‘Attempt to Provoke Riots’: Seven Arrested for Throwing Pork, Abusive Letters Into Ayodhya Mosques

Four first information reports (FIRs) have been registered in connection with the latest incident that took place at the Taatshah Jama Masjid, Ghosiyana mosque, a mosque at the Kashmiri Mohalla and a mazar known as Gulab Shah Baba in Ayodhya. 

“It was an attempt to create communal violence and incite riots in Ayodhya,” the police said, after nabbing seven people who conspired to foment trouble. 

Mahesh Mishra’s antecedents

In 2016, Mishra was briefly jailed for allegedly organising an arms training camp for children, where they were trained to attack and kill men dressed as Muslims. He was charged for vitiating communal harmony and promoting hatred. Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Champat Rai – who is now the caretaker of the Ram temple trust – had supported Mishra and his arms training camps. He had called the arrest “unlawful”.

On December 6, 2017, as the chief of the local unit of Bajrang Dal, Mishra led a rally in Ayodhya to celebrate “Shaurya Diwas” which marked the 25th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid. The police had reportedly denied permission to the event and imposed Section 144 in the area.

In the last two years, Mishra has been relentlessly spearheading a campaign to ban meat in parts of Ayodhya. He has also appeared as a panellist in polarising “Hindu versus Muslim” debates on News Nation.

His social media is also replete with messages to kill the “anti-nationals”. Sample this video which he tweeted in September 2021 issuing a “warning to anti-nationals”.  

In the video, a livid Mishra claims that he has a “hit-list of anti-nationals”. He says, Listen carefully you anti-nationals, we are preparing your hitlist now. Each one of you will be pulled out of your home and killed…Hindus are now awake. Each one of you will be chased and killed”

In another video, he issued a call for the economic boycott of all Muslims, whom he describes as “funders of terrorism”.

“[Let’s take a vow] that we will not have any economic ties with Muslims. These Muslims receive money from us [Hindus] and give a part of it to mosques and madrasas from where this money goes to terrorists. A bullet that kills our soldiers and Hindus is funded by Hindus indirectly. We should not have any money-related relationship with Muslims.”

While most of his social media posts usually target Muslims, he has also, at times, unleashed criticism against chief minister Yogi Adityanath, calling him a “Brahmin hater”.

Screenshots from Mahesh Mishra’s social media posts.

In another video uploaded by one Archana Giri with the caption “impure land”, referring to a Muslim shrine, Mishra and his associates can be seen reciting Chalisa at the site to “purify” it. 

Most of the residents of Ayodhya that The Wire spoke to were united in the opinion that Mishra is infamous locally for inciting communal violence.

Imran Hashmi, a local student leader, said that Mishra had previously filmed himself urinating on a poster of B.R. Ambedkar. In another audio recording, Hashmi alleged, Mishra can be heard hurling communal slurs and targeting a local dargah.

“There is a pattern associated with Mishra. However, he has not faced any repercussions. These elements are attempting to provoke riots in our city, and we are demanding that stringent action must be taken against these men,” Hashmi appealed to authorities.  

As per the reports, the Uttar Pradesh Police may invoke the National Security Act and Gangster Act against all those who are accused in the latest incident.