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Exclusive: Dalits in Bihar’s Purnia rendered homeless after Islamist mob attack their colony and set it on fire: All we know so far

In the attack by the Muslim mob on the Mahadalit community, one man died, several injured, and a child is missing

A Mahadalit colony in Majhuwa village under Baisi police station of Purnia district in Bihar was engulfed with raging conflagration on the night of May 19 (Wednesday) as Islamists in the region launched a brutal attack against the Dalit settlement. At least 13 Mahadalit houses were reduced to ashes, after a Muslim mob of 150 to 200 from three to four nearby villages, armed with weapons, surrounded the colony and set it on fire.

The Dalit colony Majhuwa village was reduced to ashes by the Muslim mob

The mob brutally attacked the Dalits who tried to stop them from carrying out the destruction. Showing the least empathy towards the aged, children or the women, the Islamist mob dragged them out of their houses and brutally assaulted them with sharp weapons.

In the attack, an elderly retired watchman namely Mewa Lal Rai (70), was lynched to death. A pregnant lady named Laxmi Devi was mercilessly assaulted by the rampaging mob. She sustained critical injuries on her head but managed to flee the spot.

Pregnant woman assaulted by Muslim mob

A 3-year-old boy Diwana Rai, son of one Pratap Rai, has disappeared and there is still no news of the child. Several other villagers, including women, children who sustained grave injuries, were later rushed to Baisi primary health centre (PHC).

Recounting the dreadful incident Mewa Lal Rai’s sons Sukhdev and Fakira said, “Hundreds of people from three to four nearby villages attacked us at around 11 am on Wednesday when we were sleeping. Later, they set our houses on fire.”

The reason behind the said incident of ransacking, assault and arson by the Muslim mob is said to be the grudges these Muslims hold towards the Dalits residing in the area, which is primarily a Muslim dominated one. For months now, the Muslims have been agitating and asking the Dalits to vacate the land claiming it belongs to them. However, according to the Dalits, the land on which their houses are made is government land, belonging to the PWD Department. They have been opposing the high-handedness of the Muslims and refusing to vacate their houses.

After the news of the incident spread, Vishwa Hindu Parishad members reached the spot to take stock of the situation. Disquieted by the atrocities meted out at the Dalits by the frenzied Islamists, the Hindu outfit issued a strong statement condemning the incident and demanding immediate action against the perpetrators.

In its statement, the Hindu outfit alleged inaction by the local administration and police. Drawing attention to how such incidents of atrocities towards Dalits in the hands of Muslims are becoming more and more common, VHP’s Union General Secretary Milind Parande wrote that Muslims are carrying out such atrocities with the tactile support of local administration.

To delve further into the case, OpIndia got in touch with Vivek Lath, VHP’s Prachar Pramukh of Purnia district. Apprising us of the extent of atrocities that were inflicted on these poor Dalit families on the night of May 19th, Vivek said that the frenzied Muslim mob surrounded the colony from all sides and set the houses belonging to Dalits on fire. Besides, a Hindu temple, where these Dalits use to pray, was also set ablaze.

“They did not spare anyone. They were brutally assaulting whichever Dalit was coming their way. Be it, small children or the women of the house, none were spared”, said Vivek, adding that the police reached the spot 2.5 hours after the incident.

Two fire engines reached the spot three hours after the purported to douse the fire, by when much damage had been done.

The VHP leader told us that the incident was a result of a scuffle over the ongoing land dispute, that broke out that afternoon, between deceased Mewa Lal Rai and some Muslims in the area. Local police had intervened and resolved the fight. Two guards were also deputed in the area to maintain harmony. In the afternoon, the Muslims returned calmly. However, as soon as dusk descended, members of the Muslim community launched the brutal attack against the Dalits.

During the attack, the two on-duty guards were also assaulted and their motorbikes were also set ablaze. While one was severely injured in the incident, the other managed to escape.

Vivek further informed that it had been more than three days since the Dalits have been rendered homeless. Since the incident, 3 FIRs have been lodged in the Baisi police station against 7 identified and over 100 unidentified Islamists, but the local police, under alleged pressure from the administration, has made only two arrests thus far.

The arrested accused were identified as Md Sakir and Md Ibrahim.

Copy of the complaint filed at Baisi police station
Copy of the complaint filed at Baisi police station

Muslims working with tactical support from local Purnia MLA AIMIM’s Sayed Ruknuddin: VHP

Vivek specified in clear terms that the Muslims in the region were being able to carry out these crimes against Dalits in connivance with the administration and the local police. He confirmed that these incidents are carried out with the help of local MLA and AIMIM leader Sayed Ruknuddin.

The VHP leader furthered that this incident was the result of a similar incident that took place on April 24th. Then too, a Muslim mob had attacked the Dalit families in the same village. That time, two Dalit houses were gutted in the fire. An FIR was filed then too, but because of AIMIM leader Sayed Ruknuddin, the culprits escaped unharmed. In fact, the Muslims had then falsely implicated the Dalits by filing a false case of molestation against them.

The VHP leader opined that the police apathy shown then, emboldened the Muslims, to plan a bigger and heinous attack on these oppressed Dalits.

Vivek said that the incidents of violence in West Bengal and the State police apathy towards the attacks have also stiffened the resolve of these Jihadi Islamists, who have started drawing pleasure out of such incidents of atrocities against Hindus.

Speaking of the dominance and influence of Muslims in the region, he said that Majhuwa village is very near to the area in West Bengal where a few days back the SHO of Kishanganj PS was lynched to death. The whole area of Uttar Dinajpur in West Bangal and adjoining districts of Purnia and Kishanganj in Bihar is like Mini Pakistan, where Hindus including Dalits are constantly targeted by the Muslims in the region. 

Muslim culprits have received financial aid up to Rs 50 lakhs

Vivek said that some villagers had confirmed that the Islamists who were identified by the victims have been hiding in the adjacent Mobaiya panchayat in Baisi. In fact, the sarpanch of that particular panchayat, namely Islam Mukhiya and his brother Zakir have provided them shelter in their own house, confirmed Vivek.

He added that these culprits are also being provided with financial aid to carry out these crimes. The VHP leader said that sources in the village have informed them that since the incident happened a sum of Rs 50 lakhs has been provided to these culprits.

OpIndia further spoke to the Hindu organisation’s national spokesperson Vinod Bansal. He informed that the National Commission for Protection Of Child Rights has issued a notice to the SP of Purnia seeking immediate action against the kidnapping of the 3-year-old Diwana Rai during the incident of mob attack on May 19th. The Commission has asked police to submit a comprehensive report regarding the May 19th incident in the next 48 hours.

It also ordered the Child Welfare Officer of the district to record the statements of the victimised children under the Juvenile Justice Act 2015, and submit the same to the commission along with the report.

“They consider us untouchables and look down upon us’, victim whose house was doused by Muslim mob in Purnia rued

When we got in touch with one of the victims (name withheld due to security reasons), he lamented: “We are too scared because they were in huge numbers. Approximately 150-200 of them had attacked us. They were ladened with weapons which they used to attack us. Then, they began setting our houses on fire. They looted all of us. Whatever valuable we had, they took everything away. The women of our house were molested. Our the children and parents were assaulted”.

He added that “the land dispute is secondary, the primary reason behind these continuous attacks is the hate and grudges these Muslims are holding against us. They consider us untouchables and look down upon us. They want us to leave and go elsewhere. But we have been living here for so many years. It is the government’s land we are staying on if the government does not have a problem what problem do they have”, said the victim who added that since the incident they have been living under constant fear.

When asked about the aides they have received from the administration, he said that no body has come to even check on us. We have been provided with two sacks of rice and 50 kg of plastic as aide, informed the victim, pleading to the administration to save them from the horrific atrocities, which has made the lives of all Dalits in the area miserable.

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