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Jharkhand: Hindu activist Aman Kumar arrested for taking out Ram Navami Yatra through Muslim-dominated Mahudi village where it has been banned for 4 decades

The district administration issued an order in 1985 to block the Barkagaon Mahudi procession path. Every year during festivals like Ram Navami & Navratri, the administration barricades the Muslim-majority area, preventing yatras from going through the Mahudi route

A Hindu activist named Aman Kumar alias Aman Baba, a native of Hazaribagh was arrested by police in Jharkhand, where Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM)-Congress alliance is in power, for organising Ram Navami procession earlier this year in a place where the Hindu festival is ‘banned’. Notably, there hasn’t been a single Ram Navami Shobha Yatra in Barkagaon-Mahudi village for the last forty years. Aman Kumar nevertheless organized the procession on 12 April, which led to First Information Reports (FIRs) being filed against him and other people, many of whom were later arrested.

Two months after the event, on the evening of 12th June, Jharkhand police arrived in Patna and took him into custody.

Aman Kumar’s family members held a press conference at their residence in Yashwant Nagar and referred to the arrest as a conspiracy. His mother Poonam Devi addressed the media persons and stated that Aman is an activist for Sanatan Dharma. She stated, “There was a dispute over the procession route in Barkagaon for 40 years and the administration had banned the Ram Navami procession. However, he took up the matter and built a chariot which he pulled with his hands from Hazaribagh to Ranchi. His popularity worried the current government and public representatives.”

She further charged, “They began to wonder how a young man could do something that had been ignored for forty years. Dozens of people were made accused on the submission of Circle Officer Baleshwar Ram but only my son was arrested. The officer named Barkagaon MLA and claimed that he put pressure to take the action. He also mentioned that my son was not accused of stealing, fraud, or dishonesty but the politicians were threatened by his popularity. He had only raised issues concerning Hindutva and displacement in Barkagaon.”

Poonam Devi argued that it would have been preferable if the police had shown the same promptitude regarding illegal sand mining and land scams, nabbing extremists and criminals, controlling paper leaks, exposing those involved in transfer-posting scandals and corrupt politicians that they had demonstrated in arresting her son. She added, “The arrest was delayed until after the Lok Sabha poll and the action was taken as soon as elections were over.” His wife Dimple Mishra, brother Ishu Kumar and father Subodh Kumar were also present there.

She also posed the Jharkhand administration with numerous pertinent questions. She voiced that conditions in the state have become so terrible that people are unable to even publicly express their religious beliefs. “Does chanting Jai Shri Ram in India also fall under the category of crime? It is clear that the government was threatened by Aman Kumar who was relentlessly working for Hindutva. He campaigned in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Hazaribagh, Chatra, Dumka, Godda, Ranchi Lok Sabha and many other places during the general election which scared the state administration.”

She added, “The government feared that in the next assembly election, Aman Kumar could pull off a major upset on his own. Should the government truly be concerned with maintaining peace and order, two members of a Birhor family were brutally killed by radicals in Chatra a few days ago. The cops couldn’t reach the hamlet but travelled to Patna to arrest Aman. Two shocking incidents took place in Chatra on the same day. The police were incapable of preventing them but arrived at the house of a Ram Bhakt at 12 in the night to arrest him.”

She asked the Hazaribagh police why they had not been able to take any action in the cases of the Maheshwari family murder, the Sujit Dev murder and the death of Vishwakarma family members in Hazaribagh till now. She noted, “There is open theft of coal and sand and the lottery business is operating publicly in the district. Sand is being sold in broad daylight in the illegal market in Hazaribagh even after the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) ban. Either the cops are asleep, or they are lying in wait to line their own coffers. The police see only one culprit, my innocent son.”

Police installed barricades to stop Ram Navami procession

The religious procession which was taken out in April was blocked from continuing along its path by police barricades, which resulted in a clash between the devotees and police. After the police stopped the procession, it enraged the devotees after which they hurled stones and vehicles were damaged as well as a few individuals got hurt. The people also set fire to the straw and the fire brigade was called to control the flames. The police used force to control the situation. Mahudi village was converted into a police cantonment.

However, Sub-divisional police officer Kuldeep Kumar claimed that no procession was taken out and some people tried to use the disputed route on the pretext of performing pooja. But videos of people carrying flags and participating in the yatra, and then returning after police stopped them, had appeared on social media. Reportedly, the procession had already reached Sonpura through the restricted route and it was blocked when it was returning from there.

As people got furious after seeing the police blockade, police resorted to lathi-charge. This escalated the situation, with enraged people pelting stones and setting fire to some huts.

Notably, the district administration issued an order in 1985 to block the Barkagaon Mahudi procession path. Every year during festivals like Ram Navami & Navratri, the administration barricades the Muslim-majority area, preventing the yatra from going through the Mahudi route. Hindu activists have been trying to break this ban. In 2017, then-BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and around 100 people were arrested for taking a Navratri procession through the same restricted route in the Mahudi area. The devotees had clashed with police at that time after police stopped them from taking out the yatra.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
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