The Lohardaga area in Jharkhand was gripped with violence on January 23, 2019, when an Islamist mob, in what could be now considered a pre-planned attack, pelted stones and hurled petrol bombs at a pro-CAA rally being taken out by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) reached the Amlatoli Chowk area. A Muslim mob had thrown stones from the roof of a mosque in the area on that day. Now, a VHP leader has said that apart from the mosque, stone-pelting had taken from the local Congress officer also.
Speaking to OpIndia, Vishwa Hindu Parishad Vinod Bansal confirmed that apart from the mosque, there was a lot of stone pelting done from the local congress office as well. He alleged that many Congress workers were also involved in perpetrating the violence on the Hindu crowd. This comes after VHP had alleged yesterday that stones and petrol bombs were hurled at the rally targeting homes of Hindus as well as women.
Earlier it was reported how the Muslim crowd who had beforehand gathered brick and stones, started pelting stones and petrol bombs from inside a mosque as soon as the rally entered the area. Several shops were burnt and some two-wheelers were set on fire following the attack, which further sparked tensions in the area.
Eyewitnesses had said that the Muslim mob which pelted stones included women and children, who threw stones from the roof of the mosque. A large number of brick-and-stones were stacked on the roof of the mosque, which shows that a conspiracy was already planned to stop the rally.
Apart from VHP workers and many ordinary Hindus, Congress workers had also suffered injuries in the ensuing. In fact, according to an eyewitness, the Muslim mob had also beaten a tribal boy black and blue. The situation was so grim that some policemen including ordinary people saved their respective lives by hiding in the local Shiva temple.
It is pertinent to note here, that Jharkhand is jointly ruled by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Congress. When Opindia got in touch with the Jharkhand state convenor Deepak Thakur of Bajrang Dal, he said that the locals in Lohardaga area in Jharkhand district are scared to speak up against the Congress workers as it is a Congress-ruled state. They are wary that the police will also not take any action against the Congress workers. The local media are also fearful of reporting anything against the ruling party, alleged Thakur.
Thakur, who was himself participated in the rally, confirmed that the Muslims rioters also fired on the rally. Muslim women were throwing chilli powder from the roof. The rioting crowd was shouting ‘Hindustan Murdabad, Pakistan Zindabad’ slogans while unleashing violence on the rally.
OpIndia also interacted with parents of many middle-school students, who said that after the incident they are scared to send their children back to school. On conditions of anonymity, one parent said that after the incident their children are scared to interact with Muslim children in school. Instead of teaching the curriculum, these students are now being trained to pelt stones, alleged the concerned parent.
Many eyewitnesses whom Opindia got in touch expressed fear and apprehensions as they felt that their life would be endangered of they spoke anything against the ruling JMM-Congress government, who were known for their Muslim appeasement.
An eyewitness, however, divulged that when he went to the local MLA and Congress leader, Rameshwar Oraon, he told him that the incident happened as the locals were instigated by the people who took out the pro-CAA rally.
At this point, one needs to, however, understand that it is practically impossible that the Muslims in the locality managed to collect stones, bricks and petrol bombs immediately after they were instigated by the VHP leaders. The quantity in which stones, bricks and petrol bombs were used to execute the attack on January 23, a lot of prior planning must have been required. Obviously, the statement of the MLA is false. Moreover, when Opindia contacted the MLA, Rameshwar Oraon said that he had not given any such statement.
Dodging questions on the Lohardaga incident, the MLA instead expressed shock as to why a pro-CAA rally was taken out in the first place. Insisting that he had no information about the rioters, the Congress MLA seemed to be hassled by the shift in the common people’s disposition regarding CAA. He worried how the anti-CAA stance, fuelled by his party and other Oppositions was now fading away and why people were now taking out pro-CAA rallies.