Amidst the coronavirus crisis in the country, Mewat of Haryana has hogged the limelight after an investigation report by 4-member team headed by former Justice Pawan Kumar asserted that Mewat is gradually turning into a graveyard for Hindus, especially Dalits. The report said that the rapes of girls, the kidnapping of women, thrashing and killing of Dalit residents with impunity and forced religious conversions have become par for the course.
The investigation team led by former justice Pawan Kumar made scathing observations on the plight of Dalits at the hands of Muslims in Mewat. In this article, we present a few of those incidents that possibly shaped the team’s views on the deteriorating conditions in Mewat, which in reality not only raise questions on the treatment of Dalits in Mewat but also of the democracy that condones and empowers the oppressors into perpetuating their behaviour.
Before delving into the specific incidents that bring to the fore the inequities faced by the Dalits in Mewat, it is pertinent to note the withering remarks former justice Pawan Kumar made in reference to the subjugation of Dalits in Mewat. Kumar observed that the plight of Hindus, especially Dalits left in Mewat might be worse than the minorities living in Pakistan. This pithy observation by former justice Pawan Kumar is consequential in determining the criminal mentality of the perpetrators.
- In 2017, Mewat Model School of Haryana came under the spotlight after allegations of forced conversions by the school surfaced. It was alleged that Hindu students were hustled into embracing Islam and offering namaz. Refusing to adopt Islam invited beatings from the teachers. After the matter came to light, the District Magistrate swung into action and suspended the teacher Moinuddin and warden Arif. One other teacher accused in the case was transferred. A victim student recounted how students were slapped in the hostel for holding up against accepting Islam.
- In the year 2018, a 16-year-old girl committed suicide in Nuh area of Mewat region. Investigations then revealed that before this suicide, 8 boys abducted and raped her a few days ago. After committing such disgusting misdeeds, he left her outside his house in a blood-soaked condition. The investigation also revealed that the accused belonged to an influential family in the village. Those who started pressuring the victim’s family to withdraw the case as soon as the rape complaint was filed.
- A year later, in 2018, there was a report of a deadly attack on the Dalit family from village Mohalka, Nagina block of Mewat. In the investigation of the matter, it was revealed that a man named Islam had been pressurising the family of Kishan living in the village to shun their religion and accept Islam. But when Kishan’s family resolutely denied converting, Islam, Taufiq, Mosim, Atru, Asmeena attacked his family with batons and rods and humiliated them with casteist slurs.
- A couple of years back, there was a case of forcible conversion, rape and abduction of a Dalit girl in Mewat. A woman named Farzana met the girl at the station after the Dalit girl left her house following a bitter quarrel with the family members. Farzana allegedly took the girl with her and gave her a new identity. The Dalit girl was purportedly fed with beef and was forced to offer namaz. Farzana had later tried to sell the girl to a 70-year-old man named Islam for Rs 40,000. However, fortunately, the matter somehow reached the police and the victim was rescued.
- In another shocking incident from 2018, a minor girl was reported to have been raped in Haryana’s Mewat. According to media reports, the incident took place in Nuh’s Bhandka, in which the police arrested one Aslam for barging into the house of a 14-year-old girl and raping her. Aslam, along with two other men had entered the victim’s house and gang-raped her. The child’s father told that his daughter was sleeping in the home when Aslam and two other boys came and raped her. When the father of the girl came into the house, he saw Aslam raping her. Aslam was caught but the remaining two somehow escaped.
- An issue of Love Jihad had come to fore in 2019 when a girl was abducted by Muslim youths- Akil Khan and Rashid in the name of Jihad. The girl was reportedly hexed before being forcibly converted. The incident stirred a state-wide outrage and communal tensions in the region flared as protesters took to the streets and blocked the Gurugram Alwar National Highway for 11 hours.
- In February 2020, a gang-rape incident with a married woman was reported in a village in Tawadu, Mewat. After the woman somehow broke out of her captivity, she accused five men of kidnapping and gang-raping her for months. The women alleged that while she was held captive, she was administered with drugs by her captors and gang-raped. She also alleged that her kidnappers shot pornographic videos and threatened her of releasing them on the internet.
- Not just women and girls but even animals were not spared from the wrath of some warped individuals in Mewat. Some time ago a case of rape of a goat had surfaced. This horrific crime was carried out in the village of Marodha in Mewat on the land of Haryana. Following the investigation, one Jafar Khan and Sahukar Khan were arrested in the case while there were a total of 8 people who had allegedly raped the goat.
- In the most recent case—Mahant Ramdas Maharaj, the head of Muktidham Ashram in Punhana, Mewat district of Haryana, was assaulted by a mob of Muslim with the intention of murder. Hindu organizations in support of Mahanta had told OpIndia that on the morning of Wednesday (April 29, 2020), the perpetrators accused Mahant Ramdas Maharaj of making abusive religious remarks hurting their religious sentiments. The perpetrators also threatened to chase out other Hindu saints in the region. When Mahant Ramdas Maharaj reached out to the police to file a complaint, his demand was turned down by the police officials. When Opindia tried to seek a response from the police, Punhana police station SHO asked us to speak to the headquarters for any information in this regard. He said he did not know about any such incident.
Mewat has a history of atrocities being committed against Hindus
Recently, many Hindu organisations have raised their voices against the rampant atrocities committed against Hindus, especially Dalits in Mewat. Not only the RSS and VHP activists, other institutions have also raised their concerns against the rising number of criminal incidents happening in Mewat.
A 2013 report of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti states that these incidents happening in Mewat are not a matter of today. Rather, the attitude of the Muslim majority of people has been continuing for a long time due to which many activists were forced to call it a “mini-Pakistan”. The report states that the way Hindus in Pakistan are persecuted and stripped of their basic rights, similarly, the Dalits and Hindus in Mewat are subordinated by the Muslim majority and atrocities are committed against them.
The seven-year-old report of the committee mentions that the people of Tablighi Jamaat in Mewat motivated members of the local Muslim community to wage love jihad, jihad and forced conversion. Also, this report mentions an incident where Veer Singh, while making a statement on his father-in-law’s conversion to Islam, states that his father-in-law was converted to Islam a while ago and was later sent out for 4 months. However, when he returned, he once again started practising Hinduism, due to which he received death threats.
The condition became so dire that he had to go into hiding to escape retribution from fanatic Muslims. His wife and children were also harassed. He was accused of tearing the Quran, which later proved to be false. Apart from this, when his daughter was about to get married, some Muslims reached the marriage venue and started shouting that the girl cannot marry through Hindu customs because her father had converted into Islam and that she would have a “nikah” and that too only with a Muslim man. However, the girl’s mother later objected to this and eventually the marriage was completed under police protection.
The reports of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti and former justice Pawan Kumar’s investigation team makes it beyond clear that the spread of Muslim fundamentalism in Mewat has been deep-rooted and firmly ingrained. The former judge while in conversation with OpIndia said that out of the 500 villages in Mewat, only 103 of them continue to be Hindus and there are only 4-5 families of Hindus left in 84 villages.