Muslim residents of Nawadih village in Koderma district of Jharkhand would have never imagined that attending a wedding reception ceremony will turn out to be an unforgettable experience for them. People allegedly associated with right-wing organisations, such as Bajrang Dal, ransacked and looted the house of the bridegroom where walima (wedding reception ceremony) was being held on March 17, on a mere suspicion of beef being served for dinner.
With a population of just around 60 Muslim families, Nawadih village, under the jurisdiction of Domchanch police station, has more than 5,0000 Hindu families. A resident of this village, Jumman Miyan, had thrown a reception party for his son. A rumour, that beef was being served at the wedding sparked vandalism.
A member of Bajrang Dal with nearly one thousand people attacked Jumman Miyan's residence claiming that one hoof of a cow was found behind in his house on March 18.
During a telephonic interview with Newsclick, a local resident of the village, Asif Ansari said, at least a thousand people were shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Saare Mullon Ko Kaat Daalo’ (kill all Muslims) while vandalising their houses.
The motive of the attack, he said, was to spread terror and fear in the village.
After the forensic examination of the meat collected from the household ruled out any presence of beef, Asif alleged, the police and accused pressurised the victim’s family to compromise and arrive at a settlement.
The goons did not stop at vandalism. They damaged all Muslim houses (around 30) in the village, allegedly, in the presence of the police. They destroyed 17 bikes, one Bolero, one car and two tempos. Besides this, a religious place was attacked and some religious books were burnt too.
The mob brutally assaulted Jumman and another resident, Israel Ansari. Israel received serious injuries and had to be referred to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi.
The police resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the mob. Half a dozen attackers were arrested.
Liyaqat Ali's son, Aslam Raza was to get married on May 11 but the strong mob burglarised his house and looted a cash amount of Rs 2.30 lakh and jewellery worth Rs. 60,000 which was kept in an almirah for wedding purposes.
While crying, Liyaqat told Newsclick that one of his sons in Kolkata earns only a meager sum of Rs 8,000 per month. The total amount he had, to make necessary arrangements for the marriage, included his son’s hard earned money and the sum he had borrowed from a money lender - all of which was stolen.
Koderma Superintendent of Police, Shivani Tiwari said, seven people have been arrested so far and investigations are still on. When asked about the association of the accused, she refused to comment, only said, “It’s better you ask those people who have witnessed the horror.”
In the last four years dozens of incidents of cow vigilantism have taken place, mostly in the BJP-ruled states including Haryana, Rajasthan, Assam and Jharkhand. Several such incidents took place in Jharkhand alone.
In June 2017, meat trader Alimuddin Ansari was lynched by a gang of Gau Rakshaks in Ramgarh district of the state.
In April 2016 two Muslims, including a boy of only 12, were brutally killed and their bodies were hanged to a tree by Gau Rakshaks in Latehar district.