Night of terror for Rajasthan village

Thirty houses ransacked, looted, destroyed as revenge for alleged cow slaughter, shrieking anchors mum

Revadavas, Alwar: Your first impression entering this village would be this: It was either destroyed by tsunami or earthquake. No. The Revadavas village was literally run over by an army of cow vigilantes allegedly in the presence of the police on 15 September. Almost every house in the village, dominated by Mewati Muslims, was looted, ransacked and some of them were partially demolished with heavy construction JCB (excavator) machines.

Muslim woman in front of her demolished house in Revadavas

Why all this? Some cows were allegedly slaughtered in Gidawra jungle near Raghunathgarh colony by some Mewati Muslims of Revadavas village which falls under Nauganwa police station in Alwar district of Rajasthan in the night of 14 September on the second day of Eid Al Adha.

As per the FIR lodged by the police at the Nauganwa police station, the police got information at 10:15 pm on 14 September about alleged slaughter of cows in the Gidawra jungle near Raghunathgarh Colony. Instantly, half a dozen armed policemen were dispatched to the spot. After reaching there at 10:45 pm, they found “20-25 people from the Mew community slaughtering cows.” As they reached closer, the people tried to run away but the police party was able to catch 12 of them. The police found one big cow and five calves tied with ropes and put down on the ground for slaughter. The police rescued them and sent them to a gaushala (cow shelter).

The police claim that they found several dead cows lying in a drain near the spot. These animals had been slaughtered and their necks were severed. There were five big cows and 31 calves. The police party fished out the dead cows from the drain using a JCB machine. The police claimed it conducted post-mortem test of the dead cows on the spot and then buried them all.

The police lodged FIR against 22 persons (12 of them were arrested on the spot) under Sections 3,5,7 and 8 of the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of slaughter & regulation of temporary migration or export) Act 1995. The police have identified the arrested persons as Noor Mohammad, Shaukat Ali, Javed, Hakmuddin, Fakruddin, Khurshid Khan, Irfan, Rashid, Amin, Sajid Khan, Altaf and Shaukeen.

However, two separate groups of social activists who visited the village on 16 and 18 September respectively have questioned the facts of FIR and also recorded the destruction at the village.

A group of social activists led by Shabnam Hashmi of ANHAD visited the place on 16 Sept and wrote a letter to Alwar Superintendent of Police seeking probe into the alleged slaughter of cows and attack on village by cow vigilantes.

“There is a need to probe all aspects in the condemnable act of beheading of cows and their burial. There is no such tradition of sacrifice in Islam. Never before have we seen any such case where in the name of sacrifice, animals are beheaded and buried in the soil. It seems suspicious and so there is a need for a thorough probe,” the activists said.

They also gave details about the loot and destruction of scores of Muslim homes in the village and demanded a probe.

Another group of civilian fact-finding team visited the village on 18 Sept. This team also questioned the police claim about post-mortem of dead cows. A copy of FIR shows it was registered at 9:30 am on 15 Sept. But police in the same FIR, while giving details of the incident, said it reached the spot at 10:45 pm on 14 Sept and did post-mortem of the dead cows on the spot.

“FIR claimed post-mortem on the spot before 9:30 am next day. Locals and lawyers of villagers say how come post-mortem happened before filing of FIR (which was filed next day at 9:30 am)?” said fact-finding team.

Giving details of the destruction they said: “14th September night, second day of Eid Azha, became a night of terror for Revadavas village.”

“House of Noora Khan was damaged fully through heavy weapons. The mob used even JCB machines. Noora Khan and Akhteri have three sons Zubair, Liyaqat and Ghaffar. Many small kids aged 2 to 13 years are not having even a single cloth on their bodies. All household items were destroyed, cash looted. Mostly the poor have silver ornaments which all were looted in the name of Gau Raksha,” the team said in a report.

Contrary to the police version about the arrest of 12 persons, the civilian fact-finding report said those people were arrested from their homes 4-5 kms away from the alleged spot.

“In the name of Gauraksha, they attacked more than 30 houses and damaged all household items of poor villagers like coolers, fridges, kitchen items and storage tubs. They looted cash and attacked females,” said Engineer Rashid Hussain, a member of the civilian fact-finding team and Rajasthan president of the Welfare Party of India. As the mob came, the villagers fled to the nearby jungle.

“They destroyed more than 30 houses - both kaccha and pucca houses,” the report said.

Other members of the team were Mukesh Goswami from Mazdoor Kishan Sangharsh Samiti, IRS Abhijeet, State Secretary, Buddh Mahasabha, Noor Mohammed from PUCL and Mohammad Nazimuddin from Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.