We Couldn't Do Anything, Just Watched Them Destroy Our Vehicles: Mankhurd Residents Recall Ram Navami Violence
The list of instances of communal violence that took place across India on Ram Navami keeps growing with more people coming forward and sharing their experiences. Two days after a mob of around 40 people carrying swords, aluminium and wooden rods vandalized the PMGP colony in Mumbai’s Mankhurd area, residents told SabrangIndia about how helpless they felt as they watched their vehicles destroyed.
While Hindustan Times reported that it with a scuffle between two auto-rickshaw drivers that triggered the sequence of events that left 25 vehicles damages, witnesses told SabrangIndia that there was more to it. They say it was communally aggressive behaviour that actually sparked the violence.
According to our source whose name is being withheld at thier request to protect their identity, residents were performing namaz around 8:30 PM when around 15 youths, including the main accused Sonu Chaudhary, came to the area carrying saffron flags and shouted ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans.
“We tried to explain to them that namaz is being performed, please do not raise slogans right now. However, they did not listen, finally they left when they saw a huge crowd gathering,” said the resident.
Among the fleeing miscreants, one person left his vehicle and threatened the residents as he fled. An hour and a half later a mob with a strength of 60-70 people came to the area with weapons in hand. On arriving, the goons immediately broke all vehicles in the vicinity including rickshaws.
“They yelled Jai Shri Ram as they destroyed the vehicles, including my auto. It was given to by my father as a means of livelihood. They broke that too and all the vehicles nearby,” said the source.
When the police finally came, officials wrote down names of the miscreants and resident alike. The police said they will investigate the matter and asked residents to call them if required. As of April 12, the police have not contacted residents. Locals reported that many of the assailants were from outside the area while the rest were youths from nearby places.
“We were all scared to see this attack. Our vehicles were destroyed in front of our eyes. But we couldn’t do anything. There were too many of them. They had rods. We could barely understand what was going on and they continued to break vehicles while yelling Jai Shri Ram,” said the resident.
It is noteworthy that just hours before this, colony members had organised an Iftar party to promote brotherhood among Hindus and Muslims. This event was attended by local Corporator’s son Deepak Sakre and Samajwadi Party politician Jasuddin Sheikh.
Meanwhile, Hindustan Times reported that the Mankhurd police registered a rioting case against Chaudhary and others. The police also registered a case against Abdullah Shaikh who was the first person who objected to the sloganeering, for allegedly causing hurt to Chaudhary.
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