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Communal violence after rape and death of Dalit girl

"Thekedars" of Hinduism burnt 43 houses and three tractors belonging to Muslims under the patronage of Gorakhpur's BJP member of Parliament, Jogi Adityanath. However, the opportunity for this revengeful act was provided by a Muslim youth called Suleman who allegedly raped a 13 year old Dalit girl in his house resulting in her death.

According to information available at the state headquarters, a marriage party, accompanied by a dance troupe, arrived in Mohan Mundera village under Kaptanganj police station in Kushinagar district of eastern UP on 16 June. A 13-year-old girl, called Chandrakala with other girls and women of the village, went to watch the dance and returned to her home late in the night. When she was approaching her home a Muslim woman asked her to accompany her to her residence as she was alone .When Chandrakala refused she allegedly snatched her dupatta and ran away to her home. Chandrakala followed her to get her dupatta back.. Allegedly as soon as Chandrkala entered her Muslim neighbour's home she was caught by Suleman who was hiding there. He pushed Chandrakala to a room and allegedly raped her.

Somehow the hapless girl got rid of the "beast" and came back to her home. Since her parents had gone to another village, she narrated her tale of woe to her neighbours who informed her parents and elder brother who lives in an adjacent village. They rushed her to a local clinic.

But her condition deteriorated and by next evening she succumbed to her injuries and mental agony. The FIR of her rape and subsequent death was lodged by her brother with the Kaptanganj Police Station .The police party reached the village and tried to send the body for post-mortem but the villagers resisted and did not allow the body to be taken to the district hospital. Sensing trouble the SHO Kaptanganj informed his superiors at the district headquarters who deployed PAC in the village. Immediately after the FIR was lodged the circle officer too reached the village and assured the villagers that the culprit will be arrested and punished .The villagers refused to hand over the body demanding immediate arrest of the rapist. 

On the other hand, Muslims of the village sensed trouble as volunteers of Hindu Jagaran Manch and other hotheads of the majority community started descending on Mohan Mundera village. Muslims of the village thought it fit to flee the village.However, according to informed sources, village headman (pradhan) was trying his best not to comunalise the situation. 

Next morning Jogi Adityaanath, member of Parliament, reached the spot followed by his brigade which first put Suleman's home on fire. The police tried to stop them but it was outnumbered and the Hindu Jagaran Manch workers started burning the houses of Muslims. They burnt 43 houses and three tractors resulting in the loss of millions of rupees. However, there was no fatal casualty as Muslims had already left the village. According to the area Superintendent of Police Navneet Sikera, the crowd was peaceful and the villagers too were not in the mood of taking the law into their own hands. It was only after the arrival of Jogi Adityanath that the crowd of outsiders went on rampage and started burning the houses of the minority community.

The police intervened but was outnumbered as according to them, they 'did not anticipate violence'. Salim, Karamat, Mehrun Nisa and other Muslim victims of the rampage confirmed that it were outsiders who set their homes on fire but local people extended them protection. The police has arrested Suleman and his uncle and a case under section 302, 376 and 120B has been registered. The post-mortem report confirmed that Chandrakala died of brain haemorrhage and shock. Injury marks were also found on her body. 

Obaid Nasir, Lucknow

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