Hindu ‘Sacrificed’ in Bihar Mosque? Family Says Nobody Witnessed
The victim’s father told The Quint that there is no communal angle to the incident.
On 10 May, media outlet OpIndia published an article claiming that a minor boy named Rohit Jaiswal was “sacrificed” to make a new mosque in the area “powerful” and “influential.” The article mentions that the incident took place on 28 March in Bela Dih village of Kateya in Bihar’s Gopalganj wherein the boy was allegedly killed and thrown into a river.
However, the Director-General of Bihar Police, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) and SP of Gopalganj, have denied any communal angle and said that the post-mortem reports of the boy reveals that he died due to drowning.
WHAT ARE THE CLAIMS MADE BY OPINDIA
Quoting the minor boy’s father, Rajesh Jaiswal, the website claimed that his son was “sacrificed” in a mosque and the accused are “all Muslims.”
“A new mosque had been built in the village and it is being alleged that there was a belief that if a Hindu was ‘sacrificed’, the mosque would become powerful and its influence would increase,” the article reads.
The article also carries the video of Rohit’s father and sister in which the father can be heard describing the incident and the sister can be heard pleading for help. However, nowhere in the videos can they be heard making any reference to a mosque.
Other than OpIndia, Sirf News also published an article with the headline: “Hindu boy ‘sacrificed’ in Gopalganj mosque; threatened parents leave Bihar for undisclosed location in UP.”
Several social media users, too, shared the incident with a communal narrative including IAS Officer Sanjay Dixit whose tweet had garnered 2,200 retweets at the time of publishing the story.
1. POLICE RULES OUT ANY COMMUNAL ANGLE; FILES FIR AGAINST OPINDIA
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Vijay Kumar Verma released a video statement on 13 May in which he said that an investigation is underway against the five accused and the matter has been taken over by the CID.
The senior police official denied that the incident was communal in nature and added that it was not related to the construction of any mosque.
Stating that he has personally verified the allegations, Verma said that an FIR has been lodged against OpIndia under sections 295(A) [Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs] and 67 of IT Act [Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form].
Even the Director-General of Bihar Police Gupteshwar Pandey rejected these claims. In a Facebook Live on Sunday, 17 May, Pandey said that he has personally investigated the matter and no angle of enmity has come up.
“The village has no maulvi to read namaz. I was told that the people go and read namaz in a different village. There is no mosque or temple angle to this incident.”Gupteshwar Pandey, Director-General of Bihar Police
In his conversation with Rohit’s family, he said that the family member did not mention anything about their son being “sacrificed in a mosque.” The family told the police official that they had left the village because of police’s fear. He further mentioned that Kateya SHO Ashwini Tiwari has been suspended and urged the people to not spread rumours.
“A lot of allegations were imposed by the family on the SHO and you must have seen the viral video of SHO abusing. I will not give an explanation on what the SHO did and under what circumstances. Under any circumstance or stressful situations, no police officer has the right to talk to the citizen in an inappropriate language,” he said.
The FIR lodged based on the complaint filed by the minor's father on 29 March did not mention anything about a mosque either. The FIR mentions six people as accused, out of which four are minors. It further states that Rohit’s body was found in a river, a day after he did not come back home after some children took him to play cricket.
Speaking to The Quint, Manoj Kumar Tiwari, SP Gopalganj said that not all the children involved in the incident are Muslims, one is a Hindu.
“We had initially registered a murder case as per family’s allegations. But, later the post mortem report said that it was a case of drowning. All the four children were initially sent to jail, but later they were released on parole by the court. One of the accused is an adult and still in jail.”Manoj Kumar Tiwari, SP, Gopalganj
On being asked questioned about the family’s murder allegations, Gopalganj SP said that it was a family sentiment and that the post-mortem report claims otherwise.
2. ‘NO PERSONAL ENMITY, NO COMMUNAL ANGLE’: VICTIM’S FATHER
The Quint spoke to the father of the victim regarding the FIR that was filed against OpIndia and asked if the claims made by the article were false.
“I was getting a lot of calls then. Out of suspicion, I said Rohit might have been killed in a mosque. All the children were Muslims except one, who was a Hindu, I don’t have any personal enmity with anybody in the village and there is no communal angle to the incident.”Rajesh Jaiswal, Rohit’s father
Expressing dissatisfaction over the police investigation, he said that the accused children had allegedly killed his son and it was not a case of drowning, as claimed by the police.
“Rohit had told his mother that the maulvi of a mosque that is being built in our village sprinkles water on him. He told this to my wife just three to four days prior to the incident but my wife did not take him seriously. My son was called to play cricket and then he was killed,” he said.
The father further mentioned that the police had allegedly offered a compensation to the family so that they do not file the FIR.
Rohit’s father stated that two locals – Shabir Ansari and Afsal Ansari – had threatened the family to withdraw the FIR. On being questioned that why is the name of the Ansaris not there in the FIR, he said, “They threatened me after I filed the FIR. Before that, there was no mention of them.”
He further alleged that the police abused him and his wife when they went to the police station. “The police told us to relocate and now we have shifted to a place in Uttar Pradesh,” he added.
3. 'MY MIND WAS NOT STABLE AT THAT TIME, I WAS HOPELESS': VICTIM'S FATHER
On being asked if his son was “sacrificed” in a mosque, he said, “Nobody has seen this happening. If somebody makes this claim, then the person will say on the basis of suspicion only. What actually happened is a matter of investigation.”
“I don’t remember if I told OpIndia about the sacrificing part but if they are claiming that I said it, I would have,” he added.
“My mind was not stable at that time. I was hopeless. There were so many calls coming at that time, so I said that, I am saying sorry for it. When a person’s son has been killed, will he be in the right frame of mind? He will say anything. He can blame anyone,” Jaiswal said.
4. ‘CAN’T COMMENT IF SON WAS SACRIFICED’: VICTIM’S MOTHER
The Quint accessed the conversation between a local journalist and the victim’s mother who said that she cannot ascertain whether her son was “sacrificed” or not. She further mentioned that the family has had no rivalry with anybody.
“I can’t say if my son was sacrificed but I know that he was called, taken somewhere and had water sprinkled on his body. I can’t say if he was sacrificed because I haven’t seen it on my own,” she said.
5. ‘NO NEW MOSQUE IN VILLAGE’: LOCAL JOURNALIST
Mukesh, a local journalist who had visited the village to verify the claims, told The Quint that there is no new mosque being constructed.
“There is no new mosque being constructed. The foundation of a mosque was laid around 1.5 or 2 years back, however it was never completed and nor is it undergoing any construction work right now,” he said.
He further questioned that when there is no new mosque being built, how can it have a maulvi and how can anyone be “sacrificed” there.
6. LOCALS DENY COMMUNAL NARRATIVE
Sonu, a local in the village described that the villagers maintain friendly relations with Hindus and Muslims and there have been no communal tensions.
The village has around 900 people out of which approximately 150 are Muslims, the locals said while explaining the demographics of the village.
Another local Sughvir, corroborating Sonu’s claims, said that the incident that took place on 28 March had “no Hindu-Muslim angle to it and that no mosque is involved in this matter.”
Describing the details of the incident, he said, “Some Muslim boys took the boy to play cricket and then took him to his house, and then in the evening, took to the river with the excuse of taking bath. There was one Hindu boy too.”
WHAT DOES THE FAMILY OF THE ACCUSED HAVE TO SAY?
Idris Ansari, whose nephews and grandchildren are accused in the incident said that they had not informed the family on the day of the incident.
“These five children had gone to take bath and one of them drowned. Four returned, but one of them didn’t come back. The others, out of fear, ran and came back home and didn’t tell any of us what had happened. Next morning, I came to know about the incident,” he told a local journalist, the video of which has been accessed by The Quint.
Commenting on the communal narrative being given to the incident, he said that he has been living in the village since many years and that there have been no differences between Hindus and Muslims.
“There are 10-12 Muslim houses here with about 100-150 Muslims living in the village. There is no difference between Hindus and Muslims. We celebrate each others’ festivals,” he said.
On being questioned, if Rohit was “sacrificed,” he said, “Can anybody sacrifice somebody in a temple or a mosque? If people want to spread this narrative, they can.”
OpIndia, later, updated its headline to: ‘Hindu family leaves Gopalganj district in Bihar due to fear after their minor son was killed’
The article also carries an update mentioning: “An investigation by Bihar DGP says that there is no communal angle in Rohit Jaiswal’s death. The victim’s father has changed his statements quite a few times.
The father had alleged that his son was sacrificed to make the mosque powerful by Muslims, which police investigation has found untrue. Eventually, father has also disowned the allegations.”
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.