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India: Anti-Muslim violence

Saturday 21 April 2018, by siawi3


Man nearly killed. homes and property vandalised, women fleeing in fear: How a beef rumour ruined a Muslim wedding in Koderma

Published on: April 20, 2018

Monday, April 16, was supposed to be a joyous occasion in Nawadih village under Domchanch Police station in the Koderma district of Jharkhand. With a population of just about 60 families, the village was getting ready to have dinner organised after a wedding from the groom’s side. For the same, a total of 50 kg of chicken and 15 kg of fish (reserved for the special guests) was being prepared and by midnight, almost all of it had been consumed. Until Monday, this was just a regular wedding organised by two Muslim families for their friends and relatives.

All Photos here

What followed next day has become a frighteningly common narrative across the nation. On Tuesday morning, WhatsApp messages started doing the rounds accusing the family of having served beef in the wedding party, fuelled by bones found behind the house of the groom. By afternoon, a mob of almost 100 people according to local Muslims had ransacked and looted the house of the groom, smashed cars, bikes and autorickshaws and nearly lynched people. Two people, in fact, are still hospitalised. What is even more shocking is that all this vandalism occurred even as the Police was on the spot ‘investigating’ if the meat served had actually been beef or not.

Two days later, the police said it had arrested seven people for vandalism and two Muslims also for allegedly spreading the rumours that beef had been served in the wedding. All this has left Atif Ansari (name changed on request) and his family and fellow residents of Nawadih village fearing for their life. Speaking with, Ansari said, “I am a daily wage labourer. My family had attended the wedding too…chicken was the only meat served at the wedding. How can there be beef in so much quantity in a wedding when people know it is illegal? Also, why would they cook beef when they know that anyone can tell this to police and land them in trouble?” he asks. Ansari said that the morning after the wedding, one hoof of a cow was found buried near the house of the groom which sparked the vandalism. “I have seen that hoof…no one can say that it is of recent times…it was old and could very well have been planted there. Plus if there was so much beef, do you think they would cut the cow near the house and then cook it? And why would they bury just hoof? Where is the rest of the carcass then?” he asked.

The claim that there might have been beef seems contentious, but that did not stop members of Hindu right-wing organisations from damaging anything and everything they wanted. “They broke window panes of the residents, they burnt bikes, they destroyed cars, tore books meant for children in the local Mosque…all this was done to scare the Muslim community. Since that day, these goons have been telling us to run away from here,” he said. “And the truth is that their threats have worked…a number of families have sent their women, daughters and children away for fear of their safety,” he added.

Another resident who refused to be named said that the Police, as usual, was trying to divert the issue in its investigation. “It is true that they have arrested seven people but the truth is that the Police are more interested in investigating whether there was beef or not,” he said. “The police have also arrested two Muslim men-Mohammed Riyaz and Mohammed Aijaz-on charges that they had spread rumours about beef as they had a family dispute with the groom’s family. However, the truth is that Riyaz and Aijaz went with two other Muslims to file a plea with the police to investigate the matter in all possible ways. This was a hate crime but police want to make it look like a property dispute,” he added.

Although Superintendent of Police Shivani Tiwari said the situation is normal, the locals say they are scared of what will happen next. When asked who was behind the attack, Tiwari told, “We are investigating that aspect. So far, we can only confirm that seven people have been arrested for vandalising.”

Ansari, who said that Hindu right-wing organisations had been threatening them for a very long now, believes that the situation will only get worse. “Migrating to someplace else is something I never imagined yet now I have to consider it. No one knows what is next,” he added. “What else will one do if even eating chicken can cause our homes to be destroyed?” he added.

Courtesy: Two Circles



Families survive anti-Muslim violence in Koderma by locking themselves up

Written by Sabrangindia

Published on: April 20, 2018

In the aftermath of the anti-Muslim violence in Koderma, stories are emerging of how families survived by locking themselves behind sturdy doors. Koderma in Jharkhand became the scene of yet another targeted attack on minorities this week, when homes of Muslim families were ransacked following a rumour that beef was served at a wedding.

All Photos here

The said wedding took place on Monday and the organisers say only chicken and fish were served. However, on Tuesday, animal remains resembling hooves were found by a few villagers who immediately presumed that a bovine slaughter had taken place and beef had been served at the wedding. Villagers had mobilised crowds from nearby villages and together they all went on a rampage, destroying a looting homes of Muslim families, forcing many families to flee leaving behind whatever meagre possessions they may have had. Some others stayed put but escaped unhurt by locking themselves in strong rooms.

“People broke into my house and ransacked it. They broke everything. I have a family of 12 and we survived because we locked ourselves in an inner room which the rioters could not enter,” says Gulshan Bano, a resident of the village. “We are safe now and luckily no one was hurt,” she says.

It was almost identical for Asif Ansari who also locked his family into a room which the rioters could not enter as they were unable to break the door. “When I saw the mob approaching, I made sure my entire family and I stayed locked up in a safe room in the house. The rioters became frustrated when they could not break the door, so they started pelting stones. They managed to break a few window panes and some rocks fell inside the house,” he says. His two neighbours were not that lucky. “Two young boys who live in the house next door were beaten up by the rampaging mob,” he says. Ansari and his family have now left the village for a few days and are at what he calls a ‘safe place’.

Following this attack, Section 144 was imposed in Nawadih village in Domchand block, making it illegal for people to assemble in groups. This was done in a bid to control the violence. Koderma Superintendent of Police Shivani Tiwar said, “We have arrested seven persons in this connection. The situation is under control now. We have sent the hooves for forensic test and can confirm only after receiving a report.”