The police in Mahoba town of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday filed a first information report against at least 23 Muslims for allegedly serving “non-vegetarian biryani” to Hindus at a religious congregation, The Indian Express reported. The police said the case was registered after local Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Brijbhushan Rajpoot intervened.

However, PTI reported that the FIR was filed against 43 people.

The alleged incident took place on August 31 in the Charkhari police station area of Mahoba during Urs, a religious congregation that the Muslim community of Salat village had organised. The FIR claimed that buffalo meat was mixed in the rice served to the Hindus, without their knowledge, in order to hurt their religious sentiments.

“On Saturday, there was an Urs organised at Salat village,” Rajpoot said. “Hindus, who are in majority here, also participate and even give donations for the same. As part of the event, every year there is a huge feast where vegetarian food is served.”

“This year, when the feast started, several Hindus were served rice on the pretext of it being baba ka prasad [food offered to the deity],” Rajpoot said. He claimed that people found pieces of meat and bones in the rice and that when the local panchayat intervened, the main accused admitted that they had served buffalo meat in it by mistake. Rajpoot added that the accused apologised and offered to pay Rs 50,000 for a purification ritual. However, he said he went to the village to file an FIR since the accused “knowingly” added meat to the food to “hurt our religious feelings”.

However, there was conflicting information regarding the incident. Rajkumar Raikwar, one of the complainants, said only one person, Pappu Ansari, was guilty of serving the rice with meat, while the 22 others were innocent. He alleged that the other names were added in the FIR upon Rajpoot’s insistence.

Charkhari Police Station House Officer Anoop Kumar Pandey said the main accused Ansari had promised a “biryani feast” if his nephew recovered from an illness. He said one section of the congregation was served puri with vegetables while the other was served biryani.

“Later, there were rumours that there was buffalo meat in the biryani,” Pandey said. “I reached there and brought the situation under control.” He said that the MLA had intervened again after that, following which the police filed an FIR.

Superintendent of Police Swami Nath told PTI it was not true that meat was biryani was served. “A probe is on in the matter. No arrests have so far been made,” he said.

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