Muslims mourn burning of historic library at madrasa in India’s Bihar



Muslims are mourning the burning of a 113-year-old Madrasa library in India that once housed more than 4,500 books, including ancient manuscripts and sacred Islamic texts written in beautiful calligraphy.

The library was part of the Madrasa Azizia — a well-known religious school in Bihar Sharif town in the eastern state of Bihar — and was burnt down by a large mob on March 31.

According to BBC News, the incident took place during the Hindu festival of Ram Navami. The rioters were armed with sticks, stones and petrol bombs and allegedly shouted provocative slogans near the madrasa before attacking it.

The incident was one among many that took place in the town that day — several people were injured and some vehicles and shops were attacked. Police have arrested several people in connection with the communal violence, and the investigation is ongoing.

Witnesses said that a mob of hundreds broke the locks and front door of the madrasa and then van-dalised it. Some hurled petrol bombs inside the classrooms and library, setting them on fire.

“Suddenly I could smell smoke,” Abdul Gaffar, a cook at the madrasa was quoted by BBC News as saying. “When I opened the door, I saw there was a lot of chaos near the office. They (the mob) had moved towards the hostel as well. I got scared and hid under the bed.”

The fire gutted the library and all that was inside, including 250 handwritten books, historical docu-ments and antique furniture.—Agencies