Indore: Police file FIR against Muslim family that was attacked ‘for not leaving village’
Madhya Pradesh, is witnessing the targeting of poor, lesser educated, Muslims, especially in the interior areas, says SC advocate Ehtesham Hashmi
A Muslim family of eight, including two wmen, now face an FIR accusing them of multiple crimes, even though it was they who were reportedly attacked by a mob of over 100 people chanting religious slogans on Saturday in Pewday village, Kampel area of Indore city of Madhya Pradesh. The family of blacksmiths is said to be the only Muslim family in the village, and had moved to the area two years ago. The family has claimed to have been threatened before, but did not really pursue the matter due to poverty and lack of support.
This time however, the news of the attack reached Ehtesham Hashmi, an advocate practicing in the Supreme Court, who hails from Madhya Pradesh. Hashmi told SabrangIndia that he happened to be in MP when he received a call from the victims. He reached them with an associate and says they were not allowed to meet the victim who had head inuries and also realised that the Medico Legal Case (MLC) was made of an ordinary injury, and that the local police was delaying registering the FIR, He said, “I visited the family, spoke to the police to register the FIR, which then took eight hours to be registered” adding that the police promptly registered the counter-FIR against the Muslim family which the advocate says is “ baseless”. In Madhya Pradesh, he added, it was the poor, lesser educated, Muslim who was being syatematically targetted, especially in the interior areas. “This is not the first time that the Indore police is trying to protect the accused. The police acted in the same manner in bangle seller Tasleem Ali’s case,” said Hashmi.
According to a report in The Wire, the victim’s family runs an agricultural equipment repairing workshop on the outskirts of the Pewday village and told the police, and subsequently the media, that a mob armed with iron rods attacked them, after they refused to move away from the Hindu dominated village. Indore police told the media that the incident took place on Saturday at around 8 P.M and that the attackers left five members of the Muslim family injured, who were then referred to MY Hospital, Indore for treatment. According to media reports, a complaint was filed by Shahrukh Lohar (25), who was also attacked, and an FIR was registered “against nine people of the Hindu community under Sections 323, 294, 506, 427, 147 and 148 of the Indian Penal Code.” However no arrests have been made yet. Police have also denied receiving any information regarding the Muslim family’s allegation that they had been threatened for months by the attackers who “were associated with the RSS.”
While the first FIR was registered against Vikas Patel and eight others under sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 294 (using obscene language), 506 (criminal intimidation), 427 (mischief), 147 (rioting), and 148 (rioting with armed deadly weapon) of the Indian Penal Code, the police also registered a counter FIR against the victim Muslim family under the same sections, confirmed the lawyer. This according to news reports, was based on a complaint from a villager Vikash Singh,who claimed that he “has given Rs 75,000 to the Muslim family to built a tractor trolley two months ago which they failed to deliver” and alleged that the “violence” was over this dispute over money. Police told the media, “An FIR has been registered against five people of the Muslim family for assaulting, rioting under Sections 323, 294, 506, 147 and 148 of the IPC. But no arrest has been made.”
According to The Wire, Vikash denied any association with right-wing groups and the allegations that people had been threatening the Muslim family and said he “gave Rs 75,000 cash to Farooque to make a tractor trolley almost two months ago. When he did not deliver it, I went to inquire. Instead of returning money or a trolley, he began to hurl abuses which led to the incident.” However, a former sarpanch of the village, Subhash Choudhary, however, told reporters that Vikash is “associated with the RSS and often goes to shakhas.”
Farooque Geyasuddin (47), told mediapersons that on Saturday evening when his family was working a mob of around 100-150 men picketed their home and workshop chanting religious slogans. He identified the accused “Amit Maheshwari, Vikash Singh, Rahul, Kapil Pramar” who along with others began abusing and attacking. They reportedly asked Farooque: ‘Why haven’t you left the village, ignoring our previous threats?’” The mob then allegedly also went into the victims’ home and “molested and attacked the women” including Shahrukh’s elder sister, who was visiting from her in-laws’ home. She also told the media that the angry mob was also chanting “Jai Shree Ram” slogans.
The family, according to the lawyer, has returned to the same home for now and a few policemen have been deployed around the area. The police meanwhile maintain that the attack was not communal at all. According to a report in The Hindustan Times, Indore (west) superintendent of police MC Jain said, “Farukh Lohar had taken ₹75,000 in advance from a villager Vikas Patel to make a trolley, but didn’t complete the order. Patel was asking Lohar to return the money, and on Saturday night, Patel along with eight others went to Lohar’s home for money. When he refused to pay, Patel attacked Lohar with an iron rod” adding that as “Patel and others used rods and canes present at Lohar’s house as weapons so it’s clear that it was not a pre-planned attack” and that “The Lohar family didn’t register any complaint about being threatened and burgled earlier.”
Courtesy: Sabrang India
Note: This news piece was originally published in counterview.in and use purely for non-profit/non-commercial purposes exclusively for Human Rights objectives.