We had earlier reported about an incident in April which had yet again revealed the systematic oppression of Dalits at the hands of the Muslim population in Haryana’s Mewat district. In the incident, a 24-year-old Dalit boy Rahul was brutally assaulted, with a battle-axe, by members of the Muslim community in his village Uleta, falling under the jurisdiction of Mewat’s Nagina police station. When Rahul’s family went to save their son, even they were also subjected to assault by the Muslim assailants.
The village sarpanch and other villagers stayed away from even inquiring the well being of Rahul and his family which came under the attack of the Muslim assailants. Instead, Rahul’s uncle Jaswant was allegedly intimidated by a well-known person in the village who warned him that if he wants to stay in the village, he will have to live under their yoke. The police did not allegedly cooperate. To weaken the case, the ST/SC Act was removed from the case.
It’s been four months since Rahul’s family has been running pillar to post seeking justice for their young son, but his assailants are still roaming around freely. Now, when these hardships have crossed all endurable capacities, Rahul’s family has decided to lodge a complaint against the police and fight for justice.
Rahul’s family, which is no different from the rest of the oppressed Dalit family’s in Mewat, have been enduring these hardships for the past two decades. The pervasiveness of the local police, probably under the influence of the majority Muslim population in the region, has only added to the miseries of these Dalit families.
Rahul’s uncle Jaswant, who had earlier talked about the incident, about the hardships faced by members of his community in the village and the refusal by the police to lodge their complaints, has now divulged how the witnesses in Rahul’s case, who also happen to be Muslims, are now being intimidated by their own community members.
While talking to Opindia, Jaswant said that one of the witnesses named, Sabir, along with his elder brother Salim, were assaulted in the dark hours of August 19. Rahul’s uncle said that Salim was targetted when he was on his way to the police station to lodge a complaint against the assailants who had attacked his brother Sabir. The goons sitting in Mewat’s Nagina accosted Salim, who was on his bike. They started raining lathis at him. Some local shopkeepers and villagers intervened and saved Salim, said Jaswant.
Notably, both Sabir and his elder brother Salim who are witnesses in Rahul’s case, have submitted their written statement in Nagina police station. Sabir wrote that he was at home with his family at 8 pm on August 19, when suddenly, 8-10 miscreants attacked him and his family members with sticks and lathis. While assaulting Sabir and his family member’s the assailants squalled: “You will file a complaint against us, let us teach you a lesson”.
Rahul’s uncle furthered in a vexed tone said that Sabir’s statement also read that the assailants vandalised and looted his house. One Majjalish attacked his sister-in-law, Rahison with a sharp weapon. Whereas, Alim and others assaulted his family members with metal bars and batons. Luckily, Sabir’s neighbours, who heard the clamour, rushed to their rescue. But by then, Sabir’s sister-in-law had already been injured severely. She was rushed to Mandikheda Hospital, from where he was referred to Nalhad Medical College.
Sabir has said in his statement that the assailants’ motive for attack for very evident. They targetted his family, because they were the witness in Rahul’s case, Sabir said. Using casteist slurs against Rahul and his family, the assailants threatened Sabir of dire face consequences if he did not back down and withdraw his statement against the assailants who had attacked Rahul.
“You take back your statement supporting that cha***r (a casteist slur used for Dalits), otherwise we will kill you,” the assailants who attacked Sabir, Salim and their family members had allegedly threatened.
Salim in his police statement testified that when assailants attacked him in Nagina on August 19, they also looted him of the cash he had, and broke his mobile. Subsequently, Salim filed a complaint at Nagina police station and demanded strict and fast action against Aleem, Maqsood, Arif, Tarif, Waris and Saddam.
Another Muslim neighbour who stood in support of Rahul came under the radar of the Muslim assailants
This incident is, however, not the first. Jaswant states that thrashing of Hindus is a common occurrence in Uleta, a village with 30-35 Hindu families among at least 350 Muslim homes. Earlier too, the majority Muslim population of the village have beaten or tortured the people of their own community for supporting the Dalit family, Jaswant has stated. The family of one Hakimuddin, very close to this Dalit family, were also attacked.
At around 6 pm on June 29, these assailants had allegedly intercepted Hakimuddin’s brother Mohammed Omar and warned him against supporting the Dalit family. “You will have to pay a heavy price if you dare to help or testify for Rahul”, the Muslims assailants threatened Omar who reportedly did not cede to their threats and said intrepidly that Rahul was a poor and innocent member of the village and as his neighbour, he is duty-bound to help him.
Omar’s bold stance made him the next target of these goons, informed Jaswant. He was also allegedly attacked. Somehow Omar snuggled his way out and rushed to his brother Shaukat’s house. But Majlis, Maqsood, Arif, Saddam, Farooq, Liaquat, Momin Jehru, Sanir and other armed men followed him there. The assailants, in their frenzy, launched an attack on Shaukat and the women of the house. One Samina, who was five months pregnant was assaulted so badly that she lost her unborn child.
The goons vandalised and looted Shaukat’s house. The women, Maryam, Aasubi, Aamina, Kalsoom, who were a part of the group of assailants, rained stones at Shaukat’s house. Just when the attack was about to take the most dangerous turn, a group of villagers intervened and saved Omar, Shaukat and his family members. The assailants, who were forced to leave, allegedly hollered on their way back: “Today these villagers saved you’ll, but we will kill you all in the next given opportunity”.
Muslims who had supported Rahul were barred from praying in the Mosque
Hakimuddin, speaking to Opindia, said that these assailants are such bullies that they did not allow them (the handful of Muslims who stood in support of Rahul and his family) to offer prayers in the village mosque this Ramadan. It is this constant fear of retribution from the Muslim majority in the village that victims are probably hesitant to muster the courage of filing a complaint against the assailants.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Omar said that for days the Muslim assailants kept stopping and threatening him on the way to work. He said that the Muslim goons’ bullying and profanity compel him to always keep his house doors locked. The assailants had also tried to trap Omar under false cases, he stated. Speaking on police apathy, Omar said that despite complaints, the police has not taken any action against the assailants.
Along with police, Omar accused the village sarpanch Aleem of using unscrupulous ways to remain the village head. He accused Aleem of fleecing poor villagers and taking bribe for getting the smallest of work done in the village. It is pertinent to note here that OpIndia had done an extensive report when Sarpanch Aleem’s name had surfaced in the ‘NREGA job card’ fraud incident.
OpIndia contacts Nagina police station regarding Mewat’s Dalit boy Rahul and his 4-month-old case
Meanwhile, when OpIndia got in touch with the Nagina police station official, they seemed to be absolutely clueless about the alleged assault on Sabir and his brother Salim. At the same time, in the Rahul case, they confirmed that an FIR was registered in this case, but later the SC/ST Act was withdrawn.
According to reports, few of the accused had been arrested, after which Rahul’s case was transferred to DSP Punhana. It is believed that DSP Punhana has invoked the SC/ST Act again in this case.
According to SHO Ramesh Chandra of Nagina police station, he has now sought permission to arrest the accused again in this regard. The matter is in court. There will be a hearing on September 7. As soon as the verdict comes, the accused will be arrested immediately, claimed the SHO.
Haryana’s Mewat characterised as “mini-Pakistan”
Mewat of Haryana has hogged the limelight after an investigation report by 4-member team headed by former Justice Pawan Kumar asserted that the area is gradually turning into “mini-Pakistan”- 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, apart from rampant cattle smuggling and illegal slaughter are common in the area.