In Begusarai in Bihar, Bajrang Dal workers Pankaj Singh and Vikas Bharti would not have even imagined that helping a helpless and vulnerable victim of alleged love jihad will bring them on the verge of mob lynching. They had received a distress call from a Hindu woman on October 2, 2020 early in the morning who was pleading for help in a nervous voice.
The woman told them that her husband Aftab Alam is brutally beating her and asked them to save her. After listening to the woman’s plight, Bajrang Dal State Co-convener Shubham Bharadwaj left all his work and travelled 8-9 km to the woman Pokhariya at a small distance from Nawab Chowk around 10 a.m. He was accompanied by Bajrang Dal Department Coordinator Pankaj Singh and Vishwa Hindu District Minister Vikas Bharti.
All three were enraged at Aftab after they saw the woman’s condition. They started questioning Aftab about the assault on his wife. Meanwhile Shubham came live on Facebook and started and exposing Aftab’s reality. It must have only some time after the Facebook live stream ended that suddenly a mob of around 300-400 people gathered outside the house. The people in the mob were from a particular community. Some of them were carrying pistols in their hands. Some carried sharp weapons used for slaughtering goats. These people were calling Shubham Bharadwaj and were saying that they will kill him.
Shubham Bharadwaj came live on Facebook twice regarding the incident. He informed during the live session that the planning of their murder is going on. A mob of hundreds of people is outside the house and these three people were somehow saving their lives by tightly locking the door.
“Never seen such a situation before”: Shubham Bharadwaj after being rescued
OpIndia tried to talk to Shubham Bharadwaj on receiving the information about the incident. Thanking Lord Shiva, Shubham told OpIndia that they were given a boon of life yesterday. He had not seen such a situation in his life before. There were mobs of Muslims everywhere calling for Shubham and asking him to come down once. The mob was so violent that they even smashed the iron gate and were trying to somehow get inside.
जो लोग ‘लव जिहाद’ के कोढ़ से लड़ रहे हैं, हिन्दू बच्चियों को बचा रहे हैं, उन पर इस तरह से हमले हो रहे हैं! शुभम आप लगे रहिए, हम आपके साथ हैं। हर उस लड़की पर हुए अत्याचार और हर अपराधी की क्रूरता हम रिपोर्ट करते रहेंगे। https://t.co/lsc046UXM5— Ajeet Bharti (@ajeetbharti) October 2, 2020
He told us that at the time of the incident, Pankaj Singh, father of the women and 1-2 other people were also present with him. All of them pushed the door shut to prevent the mob from entering. But the mob was continuously trying to get inside and they were attacking the door with a hammer.
Shubham and his companions who had gone there for helping the women were looking at their death. But, he called the police again and some time later came live on Facebook to inform people what the majority community in the Nawab Chowk area is up to.
He makes a guess that perhaps Aftab Alam had already told the mob that he would beat his wife and she would call them for help and then this would happen. He said that during the anti-CAA and anti-NRC protests, a call was made from Nawab Chowk for his lynching and yesterday this happened.
He tells that Lord Shiva protected him and SHO Amarendra Jha reached on time. Dispersing the mob, the police rescued everyone stuck in the house and arrested Aftab on the spot. After the incident, Shubham is suffering from high fever today. Perhaps the picture of the mob is flashing before his eyes. He was not the only one terrified by the mob, even the woman kept repeating, “They will kill us, brother….What do we do now…what do we do?”.
#मेरा_मोबलिनचिंग_करने_हत्या_करने_का_धमकी_दिया है caaविरोध मे 20दिनों से धरना कररहे नवाब चौक के आयोजक ने।तो सुनलो कानून सम्मत हम कल आएंगे नवाब चौक,तुम्हारी गोलियां कम पर जाएंगी,हमारा सीना कम नहीं होगा।@BegusaraiPolice @swati_gs @girirajsinghbjp @HMOIndia @IPSGupteshwar @CMOBihar pic.twitter.com/Wa6bnTW0Kk— Shubham Bhardwaj (@Shubham_vhp) February 5, 2020
Shubham said that he was provided security earlier. But since he organised a protest to demand justice for a woman belonging to a deprived community, his security was withdrawn. He later wrote many letters to the administration demanding security but no action has been taken as yet. He says no matter what he will continue fulfilling his duties in this direction.
“People in the mob were carrying pistols and tools used for slaughtering goats”: Bajrang Dal Department Coordinator Pankaj Singh
Pankaj Singh, who was present with Shubham during the incident, describes Nawab Chowk in Begusarai as Karachi in Pakistan. He says that people to the ‘particular community’ live in this area and the area is quite sensitive. According to him, Shubham Bhardwaj had told him about the case over phone. After this he and VHP District Minister Vikas Bharti reached the woman’s house.
According to Pankaj, they has informed the police before reaching there and the police had told them that they had taken cognisance of the matter, and a team was teaching there. However, the police did not reach at the site even after the Bajrang Dal workers had reached. Pankaj tells that when Shubham came live on Facebook and informed people about the acts of Aftab then the mob came to know that they were there and all them gathered there with weapons. They were shocked to see us at the house. They has pre-planned it.
Talking about the threats that Shubham Bharadwaj had received during the protests against CAA-NRC, he tells, “Threating with mob-lynching has been going on for a long time but yesterday these people got an opportunity when we came live on Facebook. They thought that we are alone in the area, and so they mobbed us. Some people in the mob were carrying sharp tools used for slaughtering goats. Some had pistols. We called the administration in panic. We thought when the police did not arrive in the last 2 hours how will they arrive now. Therefore, we called our fellow workers and some people reached after Facebook live. On the other hand, administration also prepped up. Consequently, the police that did not arrive in past 2 hours, was there within 7-8 minutes with full force”.
He says, “The mob had smashed the iron gate in the meantime and after climbing upstairs was saying that none should escape alive from here”. However, the mob dispersed after the police arrived and rescued the people in the house. Police said to them, “This was a matter between husband and wife. You should not have interfered”. Pankaj asks, “If a victim of love jihad asks us for help what will we do? wait? We had already informed the police”.
Pankaj says had hundreds of people not reached there through Facebook live and had the police not reached on time we would be gone. According to Pankaj, “The mob and their voices kept haunting me during the whole night yesterday. It has been so many years working in the organisation but I never saw such a situation before. We have many people, but it was for the first that we found ourselves surrounded by a mob. If we would have tried to ma a video of the mob, they would killed us after breaking the door”.
“We would have been lynched by the mob yesterday”: Victim Hindu woman
The victim talked to OpIndia regarding the incident. She said that it can be rightly said that they got a new life yesterday. Had the mob entered the house, it would not have spared Shubham Bharadwaj, her and even her two daughters. All would have been killed. She tells that yesterday morning around 7-8 a.m. Aftab was hurling filthy abuses at her. He was accompanied by a friend of his.
Thereafter, both of them started beating her in the house. Aftab was trying to strangulate her and his friend was threatening to shoot her with a pistol. Somehow she saved herself and called the police. But when the police did not arrive on time, she asked Shubham Bharadwaj for help. Thereafter, Shubham reached there with his friends.
She tells that the situation outside heated up after Shubham and his friends reached there. Voices could be heard saying, ‘Shubham, come out, we will not spare you today’. The people in the mob were flaunting pistols. Seeing the situation getting worse, they called the police and said, “Sir, please save us. We will not be able to survive now”. Thereafter police reached there while earlier police kept saying that they could not locate the house.
The havoc played by the violent mob gathered to lynch Bajrang Dal workers, smashed the iron door
According to the victim Hindu woman, the mob belonging to the ‘particular community’ broke the doors and locks etc. in her house. They had planned that they would break the door and kill the people inside. She tells that after seeing the mob, Aftab was encouraged and was repeatedly saying, “Get inside…get inside…climb up the house…kill everyone”. She tells that the doors in her house have cracks. They have been broken.
She says, “We would have been lynched by the mob yesterday. That was the moment”. According to her, her daughter thought that everyone had gone mad. The innocent child could not understand that if the door had been broken, all would have been killed.
The victim shared the video of her house after the attack. In the video, the broken iron gate can be seen clearly. Pieces of bricks and stones can be seen lying everywhere. The things in the house are lying scattered. Marks and cracks on the wooden door caused by the attack are clearly visible in the video.
After being rescued by the police she has filed a case in the police station and Aftab has been arrested.
What is the whole matter relating to Aftab Alam and the Hindu woman?
Few day ago in Begusarai district, a Hindu woman Puja (name changed) had written to Bajrang Dal State Co-convener Shubham asking for help. She told in her letter she wanted a divorce from Aftab. She also wrote that before marriage she did not know that Aftab has alcohol addiction, but when she started living with him she gradually came to know about it.
The woman said that her husband used to assault and abuse her after getting drunk. Therefore, she was now worried for her life and did not want to live with Aftab. But, her husband was refusing to divorce her. The victim gave evidence to Bajrang Dal which show that the accused had relations with other women.
After coming to know about the incident, Bajrang Dal has been continuously showing support with the woman on social media. Regarding this, Aftab once called Shubham but Shubham rebuked him and disconnected the phone. Meanwhile, Aftab once abused the victim in the house and even attacked her on Friday with the intention of killing her.
#मुहम्मद_आफताब_का_वीडियो जिसमे वो दो दिन पूर्व अपनी पीड़ित हिन्दू पत्नी को शराब पीकर धमकाने पहुंच गया। पत्नी ने उसपर दूसरों के साथ हमबिस्तर होने का दबाव देने,मारपीट,धार्मिक भावना को ठेस पहुंचाने का केस पहले से कर रखा है @BegusaraiPolice @swati_gs @ajeetbharti pic.twitter.com/7T1zQ6qMPT— Shubham Bhardwaj (@Shubham_vhp) September 23, 2020
It is informed that the police has confirmed that a case has been registered regarding the incident on Friday. According to media reports, SHO Aamrendra Kumar Jha said that Aftab Alam has been booked under various sections including the offence of attacking his wife with intention to kill. Jha also told that Aftab was also arrested earlier with bottles of liquor for creating nuisance after getting drunk. On September 14, his wife had filed a case against him under serious provisions.