Special Reports

"Hindurashtra" welcomes fact-finding team in riot-affected Rajasthan

Fact-finding team visits riot-affected town - while going to Manohar thana the billboard along the roadside with saffron colour declared 'Hindurashtra ke Hindu goan me aapka swagat hai' (You are welcome to a Hindu village of Hindu state)

A fact finding team comprising social and human rights groups visited the riot-affected area at Manohar town of Jhalwar district in Rajasthan to assesses the ground reality and the pain and suffering of the victims. The team came to know that in September 2010 a report was published in a newspaper of Dadoti area that a tribal woman was allegedly raped by a Muslim youth. Members of the visiting team enquired to find out the truth from various people and sources. After three days of the incident, Delhi police nabbed the culprit and it was believed the matter had been resolved. But anti-social element used this incident as an opportunity and provoked the tribal people to attack the Muslims of the area. And on 20 September, a group of tribal people attacked Muslims of the Maheshpura and Samlihat. These people ransacked at least 12 houses in Semlihat and 26 houses in Maheshpura. Their property was damaged, grains in the farmland destroyed, family members were attacked and the loss was estimated to be around four crores.

The fact-finding team interacted with nearly 200 people of the area and enquired about the present conditions of those people now living as refugees. The team also met journalist Mukesh Sharma and Jitendra Jeki who were brutally attacked on 21 September by these tribal men when they visited the area to file their report. Their camera and motorbike were snatched. These reporters informed the visiting team that an FIR had been lodged but so far no action has been taken against the culprits. The fact-finding team was surprised to know that in spite of such large-scale violence in that area, the police station of the area looks deserted and seems to have moved out of the area. as a result, there is no law and order machinery and the area is no less than a jungle raj. The team also came to know that no officials from any department visited to take stock of the situation. However, the team has come to know that after their visit to the area, policemen along with local MLA visited the place. What was astonishing to the entire fact-finding team was that while going to Manohar thana the billboard along the roadside with saffron colour declared “Hindurashtra ke Hindu goan me aapka swagat hai” (You are welcome to a Hindu village of Hindu state). This reveals the activities being carried out in that area. In such circumstances that no action being taken against these tribal people by the local administration must have been the cause of concern for one and all. Apart from filing FIR, no action has been taken so far. Instead, the police have arrested a man from the Muslim community who has a good reputation in society.

The fact-finding team believes that police under pressure from these groups nabbed one from the Muslim community in order to pressurise and threaten them. However, the administration convinced these tribal people to pay Rs 300 as a compensation which was turned down by the Muslims in protest and they want all the culprits to be punished. The victims feel that a mere Rs 300 against huge loss is a mockery towards their pain and suffering. What was really painful to know is that so far the authorities have not even assessed the damage done to the the Muslim community of the area

Though the government has ordered an inquiry by the Lok Ayukta who was asked to complete his finding by 30 November. The team wants action against those involved so that peace could return to this area and people can live together without fear. The social and human rights groups tried to meet the chief minister many times but they could not. They met the local administration and informed about the situation on the ground. Team members think that it was a conspiracy to ruin Muslims of the area economically. The committee is afraid that if the situation is not brought under control immediately, at any point of time things could again go beyond control.

The fact-finding team comprised  Sri Sawai Singh (Sadbhav Manch, Rajasthan),Shri Ved Vyas (Bhaichara Foundation), Engineer Muhammad Saleem (Jamaete Islami Hind, Rajasthan), Advocate Paikar Farooque (APCCR), Prof M Hasan (Irada Society), Waqarul Ahad (Rajasthan Muslim Forum), Gurgashankar Gehlot (editor, Safar) and Dr Mohammad Sharif Khan (All India Ideal Teachers Association).

(Based on press release in Hindi, translated by Mohammad Naushad Khan)