Bajrang Dal activists killed my husband: Widow of man lynched in Jharkhand
Ramgarh (Ranchi): Though overwhelmed by grief, Mariam Khatoon is clear about who killed her husband. “They were rogues owing allegiance to Bajrang Dal,” alleged an inconsolable Khatoon, referring to the killers of her husband Alimuddin aka Asgar Aki lynched in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh district on Thursday over the suspicion of carrying beef.
In between being consoled by a steady stream of neighbours flooding her modest family home on Friday, Khatoon denied police claims that her husband traded in beef. “He was into coal trading. He was the only earning member of the family,” she said.
Forty-five-year-old Alimuddin died after being assaulted by a mob hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Gujarat warned cow vigilantes to not take the law in their hands. “Killing people in the name of protecting cows is unacceptable,” Modi said.
Pictures circulating on social media showed people hitting Alimuddin with meat pieces strewn on the road and his car in flames.
Alimuddin of Manuwa village in Ramgarh some 50km from Ranchi was reportedly carrying four sacks of meat weighing around 200kg. Police rescued him from the mob but he died soon after being admitted to a hospital.
He left behind six children, three daughters included, besides his widow.
Angry and grief stricken in equal measure, Khatoon demanded that her husband’s killers be shown no mercy. “They deserve a similar treatment. Jail is not the place they deserve. They need to be sent to hell,” she said.
Relatives and other residents of the village with 350 households, mostly Muslims, shared her anger. Alimuddin’s sister-in-law, Abida Khatoon, blamed the police for patronising and protecting Bajrang Dal activists. ‘They are targeting and killing Muslims while police are deliberately looking the other way. We want the culprits to be produced before us. Women of our locality would decide what to do with them,” she said.
Though the village had turned into a veritable fortress with heavy police deployment a day after the lynching, locals said they had no faith in the police. “We don’t believe in police anymore. Now, we will find the culprits and avenge our brother’s death to satiate our anger,” a villager said.
Enraged by the murder, protesters set fire to 12 vehicles on Friday and around 100 Muslim villagers attacked a Hindu man’s house, suspecting his involvement in the lynching.
Chhotu Verma, the Bajrang Dal unit chief of Ramgarh, is on the run since Thursday night. Police said they were raiding several places to nab him.
However, Devendra Gupta, Jharkhand chief of the RSS-linked Bajrang Dal, denied any links to Alimuddin’s murder. He claimed the local Ramgarh units of Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad were dissolved last year following involvement of some members in criminal cases. “It is unfortunate that the two organisations have become soft targets. Anybody comes up and accuses the two organisations for rioting and lynching without any proof,” he said.
Thursday’s violence was the second incident involving cow vigilantes in Jharkhand in June. A Muslim dairy owner was thrashed and his house set ablaze in Giridih after a cow carcass was found near his home.