AROUND 20 to 25 men, armed with swords and other weapons created terror in Kazi Ki Chawl, a predominantly Muslim area near Malwa Mill, on Wednesday evening. They pelted stones at houses, damaged shops, smashed cars, auto rickshaws, overturned two-wheelers that were parked in the narrow lanes and even entered a few Muslims’ homes and broke furniture and ransacked their houses.
There was terror on faces of the victims and tension in the entire area even as police rushed in along with Rapid Action Force to control the situation. The entire stretch of road has been cordoned off and police pickets have been placed in a number of spots in the area.
Though a number of persons were injured in the stone-throwing incident, no one sustained serious injuries. Two persons, one of them identified as Ayub, were reportedly beaten up during the fracas.
The attack came at around 6 pm, minutes before the Roza was to be broken. All the men were inside the mosque in the area offering namaz while the women were praying outside in a group when the attack started. As the armed men swooped in shouting pro-Hindu slogans, invoking the name of Ram, the terrified people rushed to their houses to lock themselves in.
The attackers also entered the houses of Mohammad Shafi and Mohammad Nabidul Haider, where they ransacked the entire furniture. They broke the television, refrigerator, utensils and other household goods at Shafi’s house. Neither Shafi nor Haider were at home when the attack took place. The terror attack lasted around 10 to 15 minutes, after which the attackers left.
The police were prompt in reaching the spot, more so because a meeting of the police officials was being held at the Police Control Room, situated just two kilometres away from the site of the incident.
Eyewitnesses said the attackers were mainly members of the saffron brigade and call themselves the ‘Veer Shivaji Group’. The predominantly Muslim populace of the area told police that the members of the Shivaji group had been abusing them for quite some time in the name of religion.