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Jharkhand police kills Muslims on the first Eid day
By Afsar Ali, Jamshedpur

Unny/Indian ExpressThe first Eid festival in Ranchi, the capital of the newly-formed Jharkhand state, turned into a nightmare for Muslims when around 9:30 am a widow's 8-years-old daughter Arfeen, a resident of Arvind Nagar in Doranda (Ranchi), was run over by a speeding vehicle belonging to the Jharkhand armed police while her five years old sister was injured. The girl was killed in the road mishap while she was on her way to offer Eid namaaz. The agitated but peace-loving Muslims of the area put up road blockades in the area.

The police opened fire to quell the protesting mob and in the process killed 25 year-old Sajjad alias Munna of Risaldarnagar, 24-year-old Guddu and 17-year-old Pintu who were all Muslims. Police shot bullets so close that half of Sajjad's head was blown away while the bullets hurt Guddu's neck and Pintu's stomach. Sajjad breathed his last at the spot while the other two passed away in Ranchi Medical College & Hospital (RMCH). Besides this, 25 years old Romi was also badly injured. This incident hurt the Muslims in the town and created tension leading to the imposition of curfew in various police station areas in Ranchi for a week. 

Reportedly the police tried to chase away the agitators who were protesting against the running over of 8-year-old Afreen. When the police failed they resorted to firing at the protestors who had gathered at the local Rajendra chowk at Doranda. It is said that Hatia DSP, U.C. Jha resorted to firing without any provocation or any prior lathi-charge. He not only asked Sajjad (the first victim) to come near him and shot him point blank but also made some anti-Muslim remarks which agitated the mob. The Ranchi sub-divisional magistrate has stated that the police firing orders were not given by him. This apparently posed a serious question as to who had ordered the police firing leading to the death of the three Muslim youths.

The curfew which was clamped on Eid day in Ranchi has now been lifted and the city has limped back to normalcy. But the tension and fear continue to simmer among different communities because a group of communal forces tried hard to convert the road accident into a communal issue. The local administration which initially was on the defensive following Afreen's death under a police vehicle and the subsequent death of the three protesting youths in police firing suddenly made a volt face and started arm twisting after the Hatia DSP succumbed to his injuries which he sustained while controlling the mob. Worse, the police action instigated rightist fundamentalists to take up the cause of Jha, forgetting the woes of Afreen and the three (Muslim) victims of police firing. 

The incident of firing against innocent Muslims in Ranchi has rekindled the memories of 'Narcopi' and 'Daladali' incidents in Jharkhand where Muslims had been tortured.

Muslims believe that there was a conspiracy to create enmity between the police and the ignorant Muslims. For this purpose soon after the death of DSP, U.C.Jha rumours spread that the postmortem conducted on his body found splinters of a bomb allegedly hurled on him during the mob violence. This bit of ‘information’ made the police rude and the fundamentalists outrageous. However the truth is that no bomb splinter was found in Jha's body during the postmortem which was confirmed by the medical team that conducted the postmortem.

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