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Hindus in UP village protest over a Muslim family slaughtering a buffalo near a Shiva temple, to patrol streets from next Bakrid to prevent ‘new custom’: Report

Communal tensions flared up in Jogidher, a small Hindu-majority village in the Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh, after a Muslim family publicly slaughtered a buffalo near a Shiva temple, which residents said marked a departure from the village’s customs, a report authored by Swati Goel Sharma in Swarajya said.

On the occasion of Bakrid which fell on 17th June, communal tensions flared up in Jogidher, a small Hindu-majority village in the Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh. Notably, the Hindu community was outraged after a Muslim family publicly slaughtered a buffalo near a Shiva temple which according to residents marked a departure from the village’s custom. According to protesters, Muslim villagers had not sacrificed buffalo on Bakrid in the past. Consequently, Hindu villagers asserted that they would patrol streets during the next Bakrid to prevent the slaughter of large animals.

As things escalated, the Police had to intervene to bring the situation under control. They also booked eight men from the Muslim family involved, under charges of animal cruelty. They also arrested two accused who were released on bail the following day. 

The incident unfolded on the morning of the Islamic festival of Eid-al-Adha, commonly known as Bakrid. Sangram Singh, a resident, captured a video of his neighbour, Mohammed Israr in which he was slaughtering a buffalo in an open space outside his home. According to Singh, this was done close to a Shiva temple. In the video accessed by Swarajya, several men were seen moving the dead remains of the buffalo inside a house.

Narrating the incident, Singh (60) told Swarajya, “It was around 11 am. We were inside our house when we were overwhelmed by an unbearable stench. My wife, covering her mouth, went outside to find the source. She was horrified to see our neighbours slaughtering a buffalo.” 

He then recorded the act and shared the video among the villagers. Notably, the village has about 2,500 Hindus and nearly 300 Muslims.

(Screengrab from video, Source – Swarajya)

The video soon started doing rounds among the villagers, sparking an outrage over the act. Soon, residents gathered and surrounded the local police station. They raised slogans that they would oppose the “initiation of a new tradition on Bakrid”. They said that the slaughter marked a departure from the village’s custom. They demanded that the family involved in the act should be arrested.

(It is alleged that the buffalo was slaughtered publicly, near a Shiva temple, outraging the Hindu community, Image Source – Swarajya)

Initially, Police were reluctant to intervene

The village Pradhan, Ram Swaroop Kashyap told Swarajya’s Swati Goel Sharma that although police arrived quickly at the scene, they initially declined to intervene. They cited the incident as part of the Muslim festival of animal sacrifice.

The officers argued that if the animal had been a cow or its progeny, they would have proceeded under the Cow Protection Act. Dissatisfied with the officer’s response, the villagers threatened to escalate their protests.

Some villagers told the police that the slaughter was conducted openly which was against the state guidelines that prohibit such visible acts of animal sacrifice. They also highlighted that it was carried out just twenty meters from a Hindu temple.

Kashyap said that the police acknowledged the validity of the villagers’ complaints. Subsequently, the Police filed an FIR that evening at the Collector Bukganj Police Station in the CB Ganj area against eight family members (FIR number 213).

The accused named in the FIR include Mohammed Israr, Mohammed Islam, Mohammed Shafi, and Mohammed Akhlaq, along with Israr’s four sons but their names were not disclosed. The accused were charged under IPC section 429 for harming or destroying livestock and under Section 11 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, for cruelty like mutilation or unnecessarily killing animals.

(FIR copy, Credit – Swarajya)

Two accused were detained that evening. But according to Kashyap, they were released on bail the following day. 

The complaint was given in the name of Sangram Singh and over 30 Hindu residents are named as co-complainants in the case. The complaint stated that although Muslim residents sacrificed goats in the past, buffalo sacrifice on Bakrid is an attempt to start a new custom and it has created communal tensions in the village. 

Hindu villagers assert that they will not allow new customs in the village

The Hindu community which is in majority, including the Pradhan, Ram Swaroop Kashyap, has openly opposed the practice of animal slaughter on Bakrid, which according to them is an introduction of a new religious custom.

However, the Muslim villagers alleged that it was an infringement on their religious rights. 

Kashyap (65) stressed that the issue transcends religious lines. He said, “This is not about Hindu versus Muslim. It’s about maintaining our traditional practices. If Hindus introduced a new ritual, we would oppose that just the same.”

The former Pradhan, Mohammed Kamruddin alleged that the Hindu majority is leveraging their greater numbers to suppress Muslim practices. He also alleged that the villagers were under “the influence of RSS and Bajrang Dal”. 

Speaking with Swarajya, he refuted the claim that animal sacrifice on Bakrid is a new custom. He said, “In families that can afford it, animal sacrifice has always been part of Bakrid. I have sacrificed goats every year.” 

He added that families who can afford it typically opt to slaughter larger animals, such as buffaloes.

He claimed that Hindu nationalist groups like the RSS and Bajrang Dal have become active in the village which is leading to such an opposition. He alleged, “The villagers are causing disturbances under their influence.”  

Regarding the next Bakrid, Kamruddin advised his community to consider conducting their sacrifices in a neighbouring Muslim-majority village to avoid conflict.

Meanwhile, Sangram Singh and other Hindu residents maintained that no new customs would be allowed in the village. Singh said they plan to ensure that “no new practices are established”. He declared, “Next year, we’ll patrol the streets of Bakrid to ensure there’s no deviation from our village’s customs.” 

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