The United Against Hate Fact finding team, comprising of Nadeem Khan (Social Activist), Prashant Tandon (Journalist), Hasnul Banna (Journalist), Tarique Anwar (Journalist), Sagrika Kissu (Journalist), Mahatab Alam (Social Activist), Farrah Shakeb (Social Activist), visited Bihar after the engineered communal violence around Ramnabami this year.

The team visited Siwan, Gaya, Kaimur, Aurangabad, Samastipur, Munger, Nawada, Nalanda, Haiderganj and Rosera.

The team spoke extensively to the people of these riot affected places belonging to both the communities. We spoke to eye-witnesses and state officials in order to understand how the violence unfolded.

After speaking to people and visiting riot affected places it was very clear that these violence was not spontaneous but were pre-planned and very carefully orchestrated by the BJP and Bajran Dal hooligans.

There was a similar pattern of violence that was orchestrated in every place that we visited. In many places pre empting the violence, peace meetings were held that had set terms and conditions to the rallies next day to avoid violence. Even the police gave conditional permission to all the ramnavami rallies and set their definite routes. But all these conditions and routes were violated, on the next day. The rallies were forcefully taken to Muslim areas, where extremely derogatory communal songs were played and communally provocative slogans were given. This was followed by large scale violence, where particularly mosques and Muslim properties were targeted by the mob. Many places they even destroyed properties and shops owned by hindus.

The mob carried swords that were ordered online and procured few days back. The songs and slogans were distributed in CDs and pendrives a few days back which show the meticulous planning of the violence. In many places police stayed as mute spectators, while in other they were unable to control the mob.

BJP Cabinet minister Ashwini kumar Choube’s son Arijit Saraswat, BJP MP Sushil Kumar Sing and Congress MLA Anand Shankar Singh’s involvement in formenting riots were clear as per many eye witness accounts and photographic evidences.

The complicity of the police and the Neetish government in allowing the communal goons of RSS BJP and Bajrang dal to create the ruckus in the name of Ramnavami was absolutely clear.

*****

The communal violence in Bihar that began from March 25 and continued till March 30 engulfed nine of the 38 districts – Bhagalpur, Munger, Samastipur, Siwan, Gaya, Aurangabad, Kaimur, Nawada and Nalanda – one by one. One person was killed and around 65 suffered injuries in the clashes, which erupted during Ram Navami processions.

Several people have been arrested in connection with these riots and over a dozen of them are BJP workers, including two senior leaders – Mohan Patwa and Dinesh Kumar Jha. Union minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey’s son Arijit Shashwat, who was jailed on April 1, instigated the violence that erupted in Nathnagar area of Bhagalpur, leaving several persons, including two police personnel, injured because of heavy stone-pelting, arson and exchange of fire.

Shashwat was named in one of the two FIRs lodged in the aftermath of the violence. He surrendered before the police at the Hanuman temple in the state capital Patna.

A team of United Against Hate visited majorly affected districts (Rosera in Samastipur district, Aurangabad, Nawada and Nalanda).

The Team:

Nadeem Khan – Social Activist
Prashant Tandon – Journalist
Hasnul Banna – Journalist
Tarique Anwar – Journalist
Sagrika Kissu – Journalist
Mahatab Alam – Social Activist
Farrah Shakeb – Social Activist

The Background

Bihar has a history of communal conundrum. It has witnessed several religious tensions in the past. The Bhagalpur riots of 1989 is the most famous among them. The riots started on October 24, 1989, and the violent incidents continued to happen for two months. According to official figures, 1,070 people were killed and 524 injured. As many as 11,500 houses in 195 villages were destroyed, displacing 48,000 people. A total of 600 power looms and 1,700 handlooms were burnt to ashes and 68 mosques and 20 mazars (shrines) were destroyed.

Following the Bhagalpur riots, the state was more or less peaceful, barring few incidents of low-intensity conflicts. There was something new this year – procession to mark the birth anniversary of Lord Rama (Rama Navami) and violent aggression in the crowd taking part in the processions. Earlier in 1989 and 1990s, Hazaribagh and Ramgarh districts – which are now in Jharkhand – had tradition of a procession on the occasion of Rama Navami that sometimes used to result in violence.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had begun spreading its influence in undivided Bihar from Chotanagpur and Santhal Pargana and focussed on Jamshedpur, Hazaribagh, Ramgarh and Ranchi. Few communal tensions were fomented for the very first time in the state during the Rama Navami processions during that period.

Trail of Events:

The spate of communal violence in Bihar that first started out at Bhagalpur and then spread to 8 districts including Aurangabad, Samastipur, Munger, Nawada, Nalanda. Communal forces have tried to trample the social fabric of the society, which was, until now, known for communal harmony. According to the reports, one was killed and 65 were injured in communal clashes in all these districts. Besides many shops were set ablaze and vehicles gutted. It all started with the Rama Navami procession where an unruly mob went on a rampage while brandishing swords and holding saffron flags. Almost all the districts have suffered a rash of arson attacks. Mostly all these districts have elected candidates from BJP and even Congress who are alleged to be the part of the communal campaign. A joint fact-finding team from Patna and Delhi visited Bihar on 3rd April, 2018 under the platform, United Against Hate to analyse the situation and see how far the violence has penetrated in these regions.

In our visit, after extensively talking to local people from both the communities, it became evident that the procession was premeditated and not spontaneous. The pertinent thing to note is that the saffron flag carrying mob were accompanied by DJ’s who played provocative and objectionable songs, which further triggered the violence. Few songs that were played are- Topi wala bhi sar jhuka ke Jai Shri Ram bolega, Ramlala hum aayhenge mandir wahin manayenge, Jo chuega Hinduo ki hasti ko, jala dalenge har ki basti ko. Another important thing to note is that these clashes shared the same script, pointing to the conspiracy behind it. The BJP leader and son of Union Minister Ashwani Choubey, Arjit Shashwat from Bhagalpur was arrested for playing the partisan role and leading the campaign. The silence of Cheif Minister Nitish Kumar over the incident has also created discontent among the locals who think that it was the Government’s conspiracy to create a ruckus. Many people on the ground have talked about the role of BJP leaders and workers in leading the procession.

Pattern of Violence

Politicisation of religious festivals, highly provocative and Islamophobic songs and forced entry into eventually resulted into communal conflagrations in the nine districts. Religious festivals have now a day been completely taken over by RSS-BJP activists for communal polarisation.

All the districts we visited had the same pattern. Newly-formed organisations approach the districts administration, asking for permissions for the Rama Navami processions, which are granted in many cases with terms and conditions. People – especially youth – riding on hundreds of motor bikes take out rallies, brandish brand new swords and other weapons and play highly objectionable songs. Violating the terms and conditions, they try to enter Muslim-majority areas which is objected by the local Muslim population. As a result, stone pelting starts and then shops and other properties belonging to a particular community are set on fire.

One allegation that was common in the versions of both sides that the mob was carrying large number of swords. It was confirmed by Principal Secretary (Home) Amir Subhani also confirmed the same. These sharp edge weapons were imported through courier from outside and distributed across the districts for free.

CDs and pen drives – containing Islamophobic songs – were distributed to play on loud speakers during the Rama Navami processions.

The team met Amir Subhani, Principal Secretary (Home), Govt. of Bihar, who said they are aware of presence of huge number of swords in the prosession. He too said brandishing weapons was a new phenomenon and was never witnessed before.

“We were aware of swords being present at the processions in large numbers. Don’t know exactly how many. It is hard to track sales online. Swords never been seen before at the processions,” he said.

He went to the extent of saying, “We are living in a volatile maybe even explosive situation.”

He admitted that the administration had intelligence inputs that were acted upon and deployment took place.

“The police was alert and deployment took place. We don’t claim total success, but it was not a failure. Had we not been alert, the situation would have gone worse,” he told the team. There are reports that around 2 lakh swords were procured from outside the state. Orders were placed on an online shopping portal, which connected the buyers with supplier who delivered the consignment through a courier service in different districts of the state.

The team found that a businessman in Patna alone had bought 50,000 swords.

Despite intelligence inputs, why were preventive actions not taken? To this, he replied, “Organisation of religious prosessions are matters of astha (faith) and we need to respect that. Denying permissions was not the solution. A day before Rama Navami, peace committee meetings were held and coperation of both communities was sought. Revised and updated guidelines were sent to district headquarters ahead of the celebrations. All material for the processions such as CDs containing songs meant to be played through loud speakers were checked to make sure there were no offensive songs or tableaux involved.”

Strict guidelines – he said – were given regarding routes, etc.

“Unfortunately, all these terms and conditions were violated. Objectionable and loud musics were played. Political leader of a particular party – who was present at the committee meeting and gave assurances that everything would be peaceful – was seen instigating the crowd,” he added.

CDs and pen drives containing abusive and highly objectionable songs were distributed well in advance in all the affected districts. People belonging to both communities confirmed it apart from administration. The team also learnt that same lyrics were played through loud speakers in different affected districts, indicating that it was done through a centralised production.

Reports also indicated that the preparations to engineer a communal tension was going on for the past six months.

Take a look at some of the songs that were played during the processions:

‘Pakistan mein bhejo ya qatleaam kar dalo, aasteen ke saanpon ko na dugdh pilakar palo’

‘Jis din jaag utha hindutva to yeh anjam bolega, topi wala bhi sar jhuka kar Jai Shri Ram Bolega’

‘Dur hato Allah walon, kyun janmabhoomi ko ghera hai, masjid kahin aur banao tum, yeh Ram Lalla ka dera hai’

Majority of these songs have been uploaded on YouTube around a year ago and have fetched millions of views. These songs were seemingly shared via pen drives and CDs, to be circulated, apparently, with an aim to foment communal tension in the regions that have been peaceful for years.

The violence – A timeline

Clashes broke out between the two communities on March 17 in Bhagalpur – the Silk City on the southern banks of the river Ganges – after workers from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the RSS and the Bajrang Dal took out an unauthorised procession led by Union Minister Ashwini Choubey’s son Arijit Shashwat to mark ‘Vikram Samvat’ – a Hindu new year.

The procession, organised by the Bharatiya Navvarsh Jagran Samiti, passed through a 15-km route, which included at least half-a-dozen Muslim-majority areas. The clashes occurred in Medini Chowk – a Muslim concentrated area – under Nathnagar police station.

The violence occurred between members of two communities over playing loud music and raising provocative slogans.

“The procession began from the Budhanath temple and reached Nathnagar after criss-crossing the town. Some of the locals objected to the playing of music, which led to some tension, but the police intervened after which the procession moved ahead. However, a quarrel began soon after among local residents belonging to both communities with firing of gunshots, hurling of stones and setting fire to shops and vehicles,” said Bhagalpur Senior Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar.

As many as 50 rounds – according to reports – were reportedly fired between the two groups. Over 35 people, including two policemen, suffered injuries. The two policemen received bullets on their arms but are out of danger.

Union minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey’s son Arijit Shashwat, who was jailed on April 1, allegedly instigated the violence. He was named in one of the two FIRs lodged in the aftermath of the violence. He surrendered before the police at the Hanuman temple in the state capital Patna.

Siwan

Administrative authorities in the state apparently failed to take any lesson from what had happened in Bhagalpur, allowing the ghost of communal riots to spread tentacles to Siwan, which is situated in the western part of the state.

Communal clashes took place here on the night of March 24 when a group of people
allegedly stopped a Ram Navami procession at Nizampur village under Mazharulhaq agar police station.

The procession had permission of the district administration and was passing through a pre-determined route when it was allegedly stopped because of the raising of provocative slogans and open display of weapons.

“While we were holding negotiations, trouble-makers attacked a school building and its vehicles owned by person from the minority community in the neighbouring Rampur village,” said an eye-witness.

Siwan ASP Kartikeya Sharma said that “a couple of shops and a vehicle were damaged in the arson. Central forces were deployed in the area and the situation was brought under control.

Gaya and Kaimur

Minor incidents of violence also took place in Gaya and Kaimur because of the objectionable slogans during Rama Navami processions.

Some bike borne youths raised provocative slogans in front of a mosque at Mughalpura under Chainpur police station on March 25 when they were going to attend a Ram Navami procession. This led to clashes between the two communities.

“Two persons suffered minor injuries but the situation was immidiately brought under control with heavy deployment of security forces,” said Patna zonal IG, Nayyar Hasnain Khan.

In Gaya, miscreants pelted stones on a Ram Navami procession under Kothi police station area while it was retreating on March 25. Stone pelting took place between two communities after which a huge number of police personnel were deployed.

Aurangabad

Aurangabad was the worst affected among the three district, including Kaimur and Gaya, where communal violence broke out on March 25 evening. Rioters set ablaze 31 shops, suggest official figures, but locals say over 50 shops were turned to ashes. More than 25 people were injured.

The violence began after crowd of hundreds, as part of the Rama Navami processions – forcibly tried to enter Qazi Muhalla – a Muslim-majority area – at Nawadi Road. The participants of the bike rally tried to make a forced entry into the area. The police said objectionable slogans provoked people of the locality and they asked the participants of the rally not to enter into the area and go ahead passing straight through the market. Following a heated verbal exchange, stone pelting started between the two groups.

After the police pacified the two group and dispersed the crowd, people gathered again and took out another procession on March 26. It is interesting to note here that the police gave permission to take out the second rally without taking lessons from the violence during the first procession.

It now resulted in large scale damage. Several shops were gutted and property looted. A video shot by a local – accessed by this team – shows hundreds of men violating a Muslim burial ground and proclaiming victory with loud chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ after having pitched a saffron flag there.

The violent mob also resorted to firing and allegedly used hand-made bombs but this could not be confirmed.

Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC were enforced. The situation in the town is tense but completely under control.

Over 150 people were arrested in connection with the communal clashes witnessed in the town for two days in Aurangabad and Internet services have been suspended for an indefinite period.

Samastipur

Trouble started at Rosera in Samastipur district on March 27 as hundreds of people gathered around a mosque at local Gudri Bazar demanding instant punishment for an unknown man who had allegedly thrown a flip-flop at a procession on March 26. The mob entered the mosque and set parts of it on fire.

The unruly mob ransacked the mosque and waved tricolour along with saffron flags at the religious place. The rioters also torched a nearby madrasa and destroyed the religious scriptures.

A local said, “A mob of hundreds of people with saffron headbands and swords were passing through the Gudri Bazaar area, chanting provocative slogans. A sleeper fell from rooftop and hit one of them. I don’t know whether it was thrown intentionally. Following the incident, violence erupted between the two communities in the presence of the police who acted as mute spectators. Somehow, both the groups were pacified and the procession moved away. Fearing a backlash, shutters were brought down in the entire market. The mob returned and looted the shops owned by Muslims before setting them on fire.”

The mob, he said, did not stop here. “They torched a part of the mosque in the market and tied tricolour along with the saffron flag with one of the minarets. Muslims were terrified and did not retaliate,” he added.

According to the police, around 10 people, including policemen, have suffered injuries. Over a dozen people have so far been taken into custody. Internet services have so far been suspended to stop rumour mongering.

Munger

After Samastipur, the fire of communalism engulfed Munger on the night of March 27 as some people protested against a controversial song being played and inflammatory slogans being chanted in an immersion procession of Chaiti Durga.
Stones were pelted by both sides and shots were also fired at the Neelam Chowk thoroughfare. Violence was witnessed in several parts of the town and property and vehicles were set ablaze.

The situation is well under control now. Shops were open when our team visited the area.

Nawada

A huge procession was taken out on March 28 (Rama Navami was on March 25) in a local market. People from neighbouring villages were called to join the rally. However, it passed peacefully. On March 30, a Hanuman idol placed on a disputed land was found broken. People gathered and attacked a nearby marriage hall where people attending a marriage ceremony were staying. The crowd set a motor cycle on fire and damaged a shop of sanitary fittings.

The police have arrested around 10 people out of the 40 named (20 each from both sides) accused, including few who were staying in the marriage hall.

Present situation

The life in all the affected are back to normal. People are coming out in market for shopping and other activities. Barring burnt shops, there is little trace of the violence.

The Series of Events- District Wise Report:

Aurangabad:

On 26th March,2018 a mob of around 4000 people diverted their direction and tried entering the Navwadi Morh of Aurangabad. While doing so the mob got into an argument with the local boys from Muslim Community who asked them for the reason behind the change in the direction of the procession. The clash took an ugly turn when saffron flag carrying mob shouted provocative slogans and threatened the Muslim boys to death.This was followed by violence which resulted in the injury of the locals. Khurseed Ahmed, Ward Parishad, went onto the spot and tried to stop the scuffle and later informed the police to pacify the violence. After the violence at the Navwadi morh, the police intervened and the rally was scattered. Later in the evening Khurseed along with the few other Muslim men were arrested by the police. Khurseed was also the member of Peace committee.

The procession also barged into the graveyard where they hoisted a saffron flag. The locals living near the graveyard were witness to the event who had suffered injuries while stopping the rally from stepping inside.

Nawada:

As per the reports, the idol of Lord Hanuman was found vandalised by the Muslims in a temple which led to the riots but on the ground, there is a different story. There was no temple but only an isolated idol of Hanuman fixed on a cemented pedestal, near to which is a marriage hall where a Muslim wedding was going on. Around 2 am in the night, a group went to the wedding accusing people of vandalising the idol.

The eyewitness said nobody from the wedding had vandalised the idol and nobody has even seen the vandalised idol. The group of men had also tried to burn down the wedding hall. The next morning on 27th March a mob led a rally in the Nawada district while shouting Islamaphobic slogans. Eyewitnesses even revealed that it is the planned conspiracy to create a divide between Muslims and Yadav. Further after no retaliatory actions by the Muslim youth, the mob went on vandalising whatever came in front of them. People have even accused the police of randomly arresting the people and so far, FIRs have been filed against 40 people belonging to both the communities and over 200 against unknown persons.

1) Ahead of Ramnavami, there was a peace meeting in the locality where it was decided people with the license can only hold the processions.

2)The pen drive will be available from the government which will contain religious songs which will be played at the procession.

3)After the Rama Navami festival, all the places where the saffron flags are hoisted will be removed.

But according to the people on the ground, nothing like this happened. Outsiders had taken part in the rally with no license and provocative islamophobic songs were played while sloganeering Jai Shri Ram. The police have taken the action but didn’t investigate the matter like Aurangabad, Nawada followed the same organised pattern of violence including damage to the property. Eyewitnesses have revealed the involvement of the local leaders from BJP.

Haiderganj Kadha (Nalanda):

The district of Nalanda was an unusual site to watch. Saffron flags were hoisted on the walls of Solai police station. The saffron flags from Bajrang Dal can also be seen in places with the writing on it – Jai Shri Ram -Bajrang Dal. Inside the Nalanda district lies Haiderganj Kadha locality where the violence took place. Haiderganj is the Muslim populated area with the few Hindu houses. With the narrow lanes with worn outdoors and one room settlements was a common sight in this locality. The news of planned procession has spread across the village in advance and has further confirmed when Sandeep, local Hindu guy gave an invitation to Mohmmad Safdar Imam to join the Ramnavami procession event.

A peace committee meeting was held after the invitation and it was decided that 5 people from both the communities (Hindu and Muslim) will take part in the procession but in this case also nothing like this happened. The unruly mob intervened comprising of an angry young man who pelted stones, brandished swords while shouting objectionable slogans. This time 22-25 women had also taken part in the procession through the women did not raise any slogan and passed by quietly. After the procession, the mischievous boys from the Muslim locality tried attacking the Hindu households but didn’t succeed as the other Muslims from the locality stopped them . In this episode, the boy named Sanjay was arrested who was not indulged in the violence. People have revealed the involvement of the local leaders from BJP.

Samastipur:

In Samastipur exactly the same event followed in the name of the Ramnavami procession. Zia ul Uloom madrassa was vandalised where 40-50 students along with 6 staff members were studying. A day before there was an attack on the Jama Masjid of a Rosada village. In this case, there was a rumor that the boys from the Muslim community had hurled a shoe on the idol of Mata Durga and the boy named Sajad was randomly arrested in this context. However, there has been no investigation in the case. As the team UAH went inside the vandalised Madarsa, the unity between Hindu and Muslims was visible. Maulana along two Hindu men from the locality was sipping tea and discussing politics. According to them, the mob barged inside the Madarsa and vandalised everything that was in front of them including table and chairs. Meanwhile, the staff members of the Madarsa had pushed children upstairs who had taken a refuge in the next door house of Dr. Ashok Mishra.

All these cases, clearly depict how violence was pre-planned. In all these cases, a mob of 4000-5000 people had led the procession and the interestingly, none of them was from the locality where violence took place. Same songs were played everywhere in the areas of violence. The attack on the houses, shops and vehicles was also planned which included the majority of Muslims houses, shops and vehicles and fewer Hindus. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is an ally of the Center government BJP has been keeping a mum over the matter. The people on the ground are not happy with the turn out of the events and have shown strength to maintain Hindu Muslim unity.

Testimonies of the victims of violence:

The communal violence seething in Bihar has created discontent among the locals. However, in most of the cases the people chose to answer non violently. The team of UAH extensively talked to the locals and heard their stories. Here are few of the testimonies.

Aurangabad :

Shamima Khatoon (Ex-Vice Chairman, Nagar Parishad, Aurangabad) : Shamima’s brother Khurseed Ahmed was randomly arrested at around 10 pm in the night. Recalling the incident Shamima says, “Ramnavami procession was on and my brother was at home when he was informed about the scuffle taking place at Nawadi morh. The mob of about 4000-5000 people with swords and safforn flags had diverted their way and were trying to enter our locality. Khurseed went to the spot to see what’s happening and further tried to stop the scuffle. He further informed the police to intervene and pacify the angry mob. What happened next was unprecedented, after the procession the police went on the patrol in the locality and randomly arrested few Muslim men. As Khurseed asked the reason behind the arrest, the police prefered not to answer. Later in the night, the inspector named Rajesh Wanwal phoned Khurseed saying that DSP has called him to meet. At the police station he was accused of instigating the violence and was arrested. They arrested him without any evidence but on the mere suspicion. Section 295 of The Indian Penal Code was imposed on him.”

The charges are contradictory as Section 295 of IPC includes injuring or defiling place of worship with an intent to insult the religion of any class.

Ramji Kumar Singh: Ramji Kumar Singh’s book shop named “Suraj Pustak and Form Center” was set ablaze on 25th March evening. His shop adjoins the bookshop of Mohmmad Qalam ud Din which was also burnt down by the mob. “After I got to know about the procession taking place I and Qalam closed our shops at around 5:30 PM. “Next morning we found that our shops have burnt down. This is the first time that the incident like this had happened. Every year their used to be a Ramnavami procession but no untoward activity was ever reported,” says Ramji while adding that my bookshop was the only source of income I don’t know what I will do now.

Nawada :

1) Mohmmad Hasib : “Ahead of the Ram Navmi procession, there was a peace meeting in which people from both communities and a police official had taken part. In the meeting, it was decided that people with licenses can only take part in the procession. Second, a pen drive with pre-recorded religious songs will be given and no other song will be played. Third, after the procession, all the places where the safforn flag has been hoisted will be removed. But nothing like this happened,” said Hasib who had participated in the Peace Committee meeting.

Nalanda: Haiderganj

1) Mohammad Safdar Imam (Ex- Ward Councillor): ” It was pre-mediated and that is quite evident, ” said Mohammad Safdar Imam. ” A rumour had spread that there is going to be a Ram Navami procession from Bajrang Dal in our village and people from distant localities and other districts are going to take part in that. This had never happened and we were sceptical,” he says while adding that a local person Sandeep gave him an invitation card in which it was written that the procession will be organised on 28th.” He further said that after the invitation there was a peace meeting, where it was decided that 5 people from both the communities will participate in the procession but nothing like this happened. A mob of around 4-5000 people had participated in the rally. They were brandishing swords and holding safforn flags while sloganeering. Around 100 women had also participated in the procession.”

2) Baliram: Baliram is a cobbler, who runs a small open kiosk in the narrow lane of Haiderganj. While recalling the incident, he said,” This is the first time when such a huge procession has taken place in our place.” He corroborated that the mob included outsiders and was done to create a divide and instigate Muslims.

3) After the procession, there was a street fight between the people of both communities. Renuka Devi, whose husband was arrested in the context of procession said that few mischievous men pelted stones on their house but it was Atiqur Rahman, their neighbour who tried to pacify the angry young boys. He saved us. He further said that her husband was not involved in the procession and the police has randomly arrested him.

Samastipur: (Rosera)

Maulana Nazir Ahmed Nadvi: “As we saw the mob coming to our Madarsa from a distance. I, along with other staff members, rapidly pushed children upstairs, ” said Maulana while adding that the mob would have killed them if their next door neighbour Dr Ashok was not there. Ashok helped the children to climb over the common wall and take refuge at his place. He accommodated 40 children and other staff members until the mob left.”

Manish: Manish runs a stationary shop and is a social activist. ” In 28 years of my life, I have never seen this. We have always lived with love and unity. Every year, there is a Ram Navmi procession but nothing like this happened before. There was a mob of around 4000-5000 people, mostly young boys, who barged into the Madrasa and vandalised everything that was visible including study tables and chair. They even set ablaze the vehicles parked inside the Madarsa.” Manish further confirmed that no one from their village had taken part in the rally, it was the handiwork of the outsiders.

We Demand:

  • The accountability of the Public officials and elected representatives, who participated, instigated and encouraged the riots be fixed and should be given exemplary punishment.
  • Compensation for the victims must be ensured at the soonest.
  • A judicial enquiry to look into the plan and programme of the organized violence must be done.