Focus

Communal elements make life for Muslims difficult in U.P. villages

After the spate of riots, come kidnappings and rapes of vulnerable Muslim women in villages.
By Our Own Correspondent

New Delhi/Azamgarh: Padrauna (Kushi Nagar, U.P.): Zubeda Khatoon of Chaubia Rampur village was kidnapped last month to force her to change her religion. Her kidnapper was a trained member of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, a communal organisation headed by Yogi Adityanath, the BJP MP from Gorakhpur. Members of Hindu Yuva Vahini along with the village Panchayat and police threatened her family members to keep quiet and not disclose to anyone what had happened to her. Reporters of some Urdu newspapers, who came to know about it, brought the matter to the notice of Rashtriya Ulama Council which started protesting and contacting authorities on the district and state levels which led the Police recover the girl on 23 April. She was presented before Magistrate of Kasia town who ordered her restoration to her parents four days later. It is not known what action was taken against the kidnapper.

The general secretary Maulana Tahir Madni along with a delegation  visited Zubeda Khatoon’s house and  met her parents on 30 April. They assured the family of all help to save them from communal elements. Before being sent to her parents, Zubeda Khatoon was lodged at one of her relative’s house in a village under Ramkola police station.

In another case of similar harassment in Kushinagar, a delegation of about 80 activists led by Rashtriya Ulama Council vice president Maulana Nizamuddin Islahi visited Parari/Tola Shaikhpur, a hamlet of 40 Muslim homes, on 7 May after receiving the news that Paras Singh son of Goday Patel had raped a girl of the village on 30 April. The girl’s mother approached the police which refused to file a report initially but after Muslims agitated, they did the necessary paperwork but no arrest was made. After lodging the complaint, Paras Singh and others started harassing the girl’s family and others, making life difficult for them. Out of fear, Muslims shut themselves up in their houses. When the RUC delegation reached it  at around 11 am, it was a ghost village. No one was ready to come out and talk. The house of the affected family had a lock on its front door. After some time, a 50-year old woman opened the door and said with trembling voice, nothing has happened here. After some time when the villagers realized that the people are Muslim and led by Maulanas, they slowly opened their doors. Fear was writ large on their faces. Now, men,  women and children assembled in the village mosque to meet the delegation members. Masjid Imam Qari Muhammad Taiyyab said that he has been here for the last two years and Thakurs and Brahmins have made life difficult for them. They have warned the Muslims not to make any speech or Azan on the loud speaker; they have occupied the village’s graveyard by force; they do not allow Muslims to sacrifice animals on Eid Al-Adha and the honour of Muslim girls and women is not safe in the village. Muslims are frequently asked to leave the village and are being threatened of being killed. On petty excuses, they force their entry into Muslim houses, hit and abuse the inmates and insult women members. Police too threatens and abuses the village Muslims.

After the meeting at the mosque, the delegation went to see the house of the affected woman which was locked. At that time a boy came out running from an alley and told Maulana Nizamuddin that his mother is calling them. When they reached her house, many other women also came out of their houses. Fear was writ large on their faces. Many of them were in tears. A 35-year old woman came out of her house. She embraced the Maulana and started crying. Seeing her pitiable condition, eyes of the members of the delegation too were filled with tears. Maulana Nizamuddin consoled her. After a while she recovered and managed to control herself. She narrated her tale of woes which is “indescribable” as reported by daily Inquilab (8 May 2013). She said that her husband lives in Saudi Arabia and there is no male in her house. Mischievous elements of the majority community cast their evil eyes on her and other female members of the village. “They enter our houses, hit us and dishonour us. No one comes out to help us. Our honour and chastity is not safe. The Maulana consoled her and assured here that all possible help will be provided to them.

In yet another case of harassment being faced by Muslims at the hands of communalists that took place on 17 April in village Tatarpur of Aligarh district. A Muslim woman, after finishing house chores on 17 April, was sleeping in her house along with her children. Her husband is a labourer in Delhi. Three persons of the same village forced their entry into her house and gang-raped her. She went from one police station to another to lodge her complaint but no one paid any attention to her. On 19-20 April, she kept vigil at the house of the police head (kaptan) but could not meet him. On 22 April she went to see S.P. Dehat Aligarh who heard her and ordered her complaint to be registered. Though the complaint was registered, no action was taken against the rapists. When she returned to her village, she found the criminals roaming free and threatening her.  She has since moved to another village along with her children for safety. When her husband came to know about what had happened, he came to the village but was threatened of dire consequences and had to leave the village for his safety. Meanwhile the woman has approached S.P. Aligarh, Amit Pathak and told him that the criminals are threatening to kill her.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 May 2013 on page no. 1

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