"They tried to barge into my house and force me to say Jai Shri Ram. I told them that had they asked me politely, I would have happily said. But they forced me and that is wrong."Abdul Malik
Two days after violence and arson broke out in Madhya Pradesh's Khargone during a Ram Navami procession, 22-year-old Abdul Malik who lives with his family in Kukdol village, in Khargone, nearly 10 km from the site of disturbance, was allegedly attacked by a mob on the night of 12 April and was forced to chant 'Jai Shri Ram'.
The mob also allegedly beat up his 22-year-old pregnant wife, thrashed his blind father, made rape threats to his sister who is speech impaired, and harassed his mother and his uncle who had come down to their congested two-room house to break their Ramadan fast.
Abdul handles accounting for a toast factory in Khargone.
Talking to The Quint, Abdul claimed such an attack had never happened in his village where only five to six Muslim families live.
"We have been living here for the past 35-40 years. Our generations have met their fate here, but now they are forcing us to leave. We respect everyone, we love everyone, but why do they want to beat us? Why do they want to force their ways on us?"Abdul Malik
FIR Registered Against 15 Persons
Fifteen people were named in a first information report registered on Wednesday, 13 April, on Abdul Malik's complaint.
Abdul, however, claimed that their complaint hasn't been handled properly, that the main accused – one Balram Chouhan – is still "free and out of prison".
Abdul's mother Zubeda Bi recalled, "We had broken our fast and some relatives had joined us that day when Balram Chouhan came with over 50 other men and started chanting Jai Shri Ram slogans in front of our house. We closed the door and went inside, but they weren't leaving. They then started bashing our door and tried to enter the house. They succeeded and beat us all."
"They endangered my unborn grandchild and beat up my daughter-in-law. They tried to harass my own daughter. She can't speak or hear. They also tore my clothes, and said they would rape me and my daughter. We were saved after they heard the police siren and hurriedly escaped," she added.
Accused Claims False Report, Victims Face Boycott Post Incident
Prime accused Balram Chouhan, whose name is mentioned in the FIR, responded saying, "These are baseless accusations being levied to cover up their anti-national deeds. They were hiding stone-pelters of Khargone riots who were taking shelter here. When some boys got this information, they went to inquire but the family closed the door and started throwing stones on them. The boys panicked and called us but by the time we reached there, they had escaped through the back door."
Talking to The Quint, Rohit Keshwani, Superintendent of Police who has been given charge of Khargone district, said: "The complaint is being investigated. We have talked to the victims and our team is on the lookout for the accused. We have also stationed policemen in the village to protect the family. We have arrested a few people and more might be arrested post investigation. We are looking into the matter."
Mohammad Riyaz, Abdul's maternal uncle who was present in the house on the night of 12 April, said they were "facing boycott" since the incident came to light.
"On 12 April, they beat us up and now the villagers are boycotting us. We are not being given food, milk, or anything. Shop owners are sending us back. How will I feed my family?"
"We have been living in the village peacefully for ages, and we all live together with love, but Balram Chouhan and company have destroyed this bond," he further added.
(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)