Unnao: In yet another alleged hate crime case, muslim students of a madarssa in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh, were thrashed by four youths after the students declined to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’ on late Thursday afternoon.
The accused youths who thrashed the students of the madrassa being run by the Jama Masjid, reached the ground where the madrassa’s students, about 20-25 in number, were playing cricket where they were beaten up for no reason and were soon allegedly forced to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram.’
The police, though, did not find any evidence on the allegations of forcing the Muslim students to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’.
The police in this case have arrested two youths after identifying them and they are believed to be members of the Bharatiya Janata Party's youth wing
Arrested youths- Kranti and Aditya, were released late last night after the police failed to find any substantial evidence against them. District police chief, MP Verma, told NewsClick, "based on the location of CDR we concluded that these two boys were not involved in the case and they were at some different location at the time of incident. These boys were released and names of other youths have come to the fore who are being interrogated by the police. The police have also not found any proof of forcing the students to chant the religious greeting/slogan. All this seems to be pre-planned to disrupt the communal harmony of the district."
When asked what the police had to say about the criminal records of the two men, the police chief said, “having a history of criminal records is a totally different thing and this incident is a totally different thing. Both the incidents cannot be linked."
Abdul Waris,15, one of the victims of this incident, told NewsClick, “we were playing cricket at the GIC ground in the afternoon and the time must be about 2:00- 2:30 pm when four youths came on a bike and started hurling abuses at us. They even started beating us for no reason the moment they got off their bikes. They asked all of us to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’ which we did not and in return they thrashed us. They even tore our clothes. In a bid to rescue ourselves from this, we tried to pelt stones on them and they then took out their waist belts to beat us. We anyhow ran from there to save our lives.”
Noor, 17, another victim and student of the madrassa said, "we were not just beaten for not chanting Jai Shree Ram, but our clothes were also torn and our cycles were also damaged by those youths. When we ran to save our lives they even pelted stones on us and due to which many of us received injuries on our heads and hands.”
The police in this connection have registered a First Information Report (FIR) against Kranti, Aditya Shukla, Kamal and one other (unidentified) under sections 323, 352, 504 and 506. The police has claimed of making two arrests on Thursday night.
Sources close to the police confirmed the report that both Kamal and Kranti have criminal records. Kamal was booked in a case of domestic violence while Kranti, who is often spotted very close to BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj, also has a few police cases registered against him.
The BJP MP's office refused to make any comment on the incident and also on their alleged link with one of the accused of this incident.
Maulana Nishar Misbah, who holds the post of City Kazi said that they had asked the city police of taking strict action in this case and had given the ultimatum of 10 am.
"It is a sensitive day because it’s Jumma and a lot of people will gather at the mosque. We will not be able to control the public if they go berserk,” Misbah told NewsClick.
Umesh Chandra Tyagi, Circle Officer (police) city range, said that about 14-15 madrassa students were playing cricket at the GIC ground and a fight broke out with four youths who allegedly beat them up after these kids refused to chant Jai Shree Ram. “Three students received minor injuries and their medical examination has been done. The police are probing the case and strict action will be taken,” said the officer.
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‘A CRICKET FIGHT WHICH TOOK A COMMUNAL TURN’- BYSTANDERS
Bhanu Mishra, a bystander who was witness to this incident told NewsClick, "yes, muslim students were beaten up by the boys but not by the one named in the FIR. The fight ensued between the muslim students while playing cricket when someone pelted a stone in the rainwater collected in the field and it accidentally hit one of the accused boys. Initially, it was a verbal fight but slowly both the parties went ahead with whatever they got in their hands including stones. I am not sure if these boys forced anyone to chant Jai Shri Ram as everything happened so fast that this claim looks very false."
Bhanu holds the position of district president of the Bharatiya Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the BJP. He further added that there has been a deliberate attempt by some anti-social elements to create a Hindu-Muslim tension in the area.
It is also necessary to mention that the government of Uttar Pradesh, late last night in a press note, clarified that there was no ‘Jai Shree Ram’ angle in this incident.
According to Factchecker, Between 2010 and 2018, India reported only eight incidents where citizens were forced to chant 'Jai Shri Ram'- all of which took place after 2014. Two such incidents were reported in 2016, and three each in 2017 and 2018. On June 11, 2019, chants of Jai Shri Ram filled the hall of Lok Sabha when BJP members from Bengal- Babul Supriyo and Debasree Chaudhuri- took oath. India Today reported on June 18, 2019, “The slogan has been at the centre of a political slugfest between Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the BJP.”
Rudra Dubey, a political expert, says that such cases should be thoroughly investigated as a lot of such cases have found to be false and in the police investigation and an innocent should not face the police’s action.
“It is true that radicalised youths have attempted the Jai Shree Ram stunt in the past and it has lead to communal tension and fear among minorities. The reason could be that they feel powered being backed by political and right wing inclined outfits, but one of the major reasons could be unemployment as youths do not have anything to do so they will indulge into these things,” Dubey said.