Muslim residents of a northeast Rajasthan village have alleged that Hindu right-wing outfits looted several of their households while the police stood mute spectators.
The incident at Rewada Ki Dhani in this district is claimed to have happened on Thursday, a few hours after 36 cow carcasses were found in jungles near a village bordering Haryana.
The villagers told the media and a Delhi-based social activist that organisations such as the RSS, Bajrang Dal and the Shiv Sena began to assemble in Rewada Ki Dhani soon after news spread that Meo Muslims slaughtered 36 cows on the occasion of Eid in the jungles of Nagaon, 60 km away from Jaipur.
“They broke and vandalised our houses, manhandled us and looted our belongings,” said 70-year-old Mahmooda, a resident of Rewada ki Dhani. “I had one kilo silver in my house; they took it away. All this time, the police were silent spectators.”
Added Sitavi, another resident: “I had Rs 1 lakh in my house. It was the fund of the local masjid; I was entrusted to safeguard it. The mob took the money and some other that I had with me.”
“A large number of police officials were present when the mob entered the village and started vandalizing our homes,” said Shahid, another resident of the village who works as a travel agent in Delhi. “But they did nothing to control the mob. We condemn the killing of the cows; and don’t support the act at all. Why do we have to suffer because of what some other people did?”
Rewada Ki Dhani has 35 Muslim families, but residents said the mob also looted the houses of another 20 families living adjacent to the village. There were around 500 people in the mob, they claimed in a conversation with left-wing activist Shabnam Hashmi.
Hashmi, who runs the NGO ‘Act Now For Harmony and Democracy’ in the national capital, condemned the incident. “It is utterly shameful the way these villagers have been attacked by the Hindu right-wing organisations,” she said. “We don’t support the killing of cows, but what has been done here is wrong. Women and children are living in the forest nearby and are fearful of returning home.”
Hashmi said the activists have demanded the immediate arrest of those involved in vandalising the houses. She demanded a survey to determine the number of affected families so as to compensate them. Police, she said, must release those innocents who were arrested for cow slaughter.
BJP MLA Gyandev Ahuja said he was present when the Hindu groups entered the village, but claimed they did not vandalize any house. “I controlled them; I took them away,” he added. “Most of the people in the village are criminals.”
Alwar SP Rahul Prakash denied knowledge about the incident. “I have received no such report or complaint from anyone,” he said. “We will investigate the matter.”