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Communal Clash in Kushinagar: Locals Accuse Police of Treating Majority Community with 'Kid Golves'

A communal clash broke out between two groups at Gola Bazar in Kasiya Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar district when a procession of Eid Milad Un Nabi, was passing through a majority neighbourhood – Gola Bazar – on Thursday afternoon, said the police.

Photo: Special Arrangement

Lucknow: Muslim residents of Kushinagar district have accused Uttar Pradesh police of “one-sided” action into the September 28 communal clash on Eid-Milad-un-Nabi, alleging the force was portraying the minorities as “aggressors” and treating the provocateurs from the “majority community” with “kid gloves”.

“The UP police are selectively targeting Muslims in the name of investigation. My cousin Saif was arrested on Thursday at the Kasiya bus stand while he was coming home. He went there to see the Milad procession and was returning home. He was not involved in any violence; yet, the police arrested him," Sunny Khan, brother of Saif told NewsClick.

Saif Khan (19), was preparing for a competitive examination in Lucknow. He came from Lucknow to his hometown on September 27 to celebrate the festival with his family but little did he know he would be arrested. 

A communal clash broke out between two groups at Gola Bazar in Kasiya Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar district when a procession of Eid Milad Un Nabi, was passing through a majority neighbourhood – Gola Bazar – on Thursday afternoon, said the police.

Of the 31 people arrested in connection with the September 28 clash on charges of stone-pelting, all are Muslim. Among the arrested are 15 minors. The police have invoked the stringent section of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in the First Information Report (FIR) against those arrested — all Muslims.

The FIR has been filed under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, being armed with a deadly weapon), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.) 336 (doing an act that endangers human life or the personal safety of others), 295-A A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and criminal law (amendment) ordinance 1944 at Kasiya police station against 18 named and 25 unknown people – following a complaint by one Prince Jaiswal.

“It’s clear the design was to foment trouble. We are all for peace and harmony, but action is being taken against one side and others who are equally responsible are being let off,” said Sabir, whose nephew Rehan was arrested, speaking to NewsClick

Rehan (11) on Friday got bail from juvenile court, his uncle stated. 

Another local, who declined to be named, accused the police of "one-sided action" and said that stones had been thrown from both sides, leaving a Muslim girl injured, but the police refused to file a complaint despite having recorded her statement. 

"The girl recorded her statement before the SHO and SP naming those who hurled stones at the procession and narrated how she got injured. She went for a medical check-up, but police found her injuries minor and have not registered this complaint so far," they said.

 Muskan Fatima (16) went to see the procession on that day along with her cousins near Gola Bazar main road and suddenly a group of “Hindu boys from her locality burst a firecracker and threw it into the crowd leading to chaos”.

“Then, stone pelting started from both sides, one stone hit my hand and the other hit my head, after which I fell unconscious. I recorded my statement before every police officer including SHO, SP and SDM, also went for a medical check-up, but theirs [the police] is a one-sided action,” she told NewsClick

She further said that she could identify who threw the stone, but “the police were not hearing my plea”.

“Is this justice that only Muslims are being accused and targeted?” asked emotional Muskan, further alleging that no action had been taken against the majority community.

Events Leading Up to the Arrests

Kasiya Circle Officer (CO) Kundan Singh, speaking to NewsClick, said that on September 28, a fight broke out between two groups during the Eid-Milad-un-Nabi procession in Gola Bazar.

The incident sparked clashes that continued for several hours between the two communities, according to the police.

During the procession, some people were seen pelting stones at a house in the vicinity. Around 31 people from a particular community were arrested in connection with this so for. The investigation is on,” he said.

When asked about Muskan’s ordeal and her complaint not being registered, the CO said he had no knowledge about any such incident. 

Meanwhile, five police personnel including the station house officer (SHO) were attached to the police line a day after the incident for alleged negligence on duty during the procession.

NewsClick also approached Kushinagar SP Dhawal Jaiswal for his comment, but calls went unanswered.

An Eerie Silence

An eerie silence prevailed in the city, barely 55 km from the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister’s home turf Gorakhpur. Kasiya, inhabited by the minority community, wore a deserted look. Only a handful of the elderly were huddled in their houses to tell the frightening tale to the visiting police officials, politicians, and media.

“There was a communal clash during Muharram procession at the same spot (Gola Bazar). The same people who were involved this time chanted provocative slogans when the procession was crossing, and the police picked them up but released them the same night. Despite knowing Gola Bazar is a sensitive area, there was barely any police presence. It was pre-planned for a big communal clash,” a local alleged while speaking to NewsClick on the condition of anonymity.

“The police have been taking action on the basis of video recorded by the majority community. The police do not have any evidence of their own because they were not present at the spot where the incident took place,” added the local.

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