Manglaur Bypoll: 'Beaten With Lathis' Say Muslims, Allege Voter Suppression

"They were trying to stop Muslims, Dalits from voting and reduce the voting percentage," said Hussain Ali.

4 min read

Voting for the by-elections in Uttarakhand's Manglaur Assembly constituency began early in the morning in Haridwar, Uttarakhand on Wednesday, 10 July. Locals alleged that at around 8:30 am, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers stalled the voting and beat Muslims with lathis to prevent them from voting.

This incident took place in booth 53-54 in the Libberheri village. Voting had taken place for Manglaur and Badrinath assembly constituencies.

Locals allege that when about 15 people belonging to the Muslim and Dalit communities went to vote in the morning, four BJP workers came with Kattas (country-made pistols) on the other side of the road.

"They injured four Muslims with sticks and lathis, the BJP workers did not let them and others vote. They were shouting at people standing in the queue, all in the presence of the police," Qadir Khan, a resident of Manglaur present at the scene, told The Quint.

"They started shouting, 'you don't vote here, you will give vote to Congress, no need.' They pushed the locals and started beating them with lathis and sticks," added Khan.
"They were trying to stop Muslims, Dalits from voting and reduce the voting percentage," said Hussain Ali.

One of the Muslim men injured during the polling.

(Photo: Screenshot from video accessed by The Quint)


BJP Workers 'Fired Pistol' in Air; Police Says 'Peace Restored'

Khan alleged that the BJP workers fired close to 13 rounds in the air. This was corroborated by Hussain Ali, brother of the Congress candidate Qazi Nizamuddin.

Four of the men who faced the lathis are severely injured and have been taken to a government hospital in Roorkee.

"One of them is seriously injured. His hands are broken, the other has had his legs broken and one's nose is also broken. Two of them are young men and the other two are older," said Khan.

Meanwhile Ali stated that the main accused Sudhir Pradhan, a BJP associate was seen roaming around with a pistol in his hand even after the violence.

As per Ali, the men said, "Vote daaloge toh aise hi maarnege." (if you cast your vote then this is how you'll be beaten).

They were trying to stop Muslims, Dalits from voting. They wanted to not just terrorise and suppress the voters but also reduce the voting percentage.
Hussain Ali to The Quint

The byelection for the Manglaur seat was necessitated by the death of Bahujan Samaj Party MLA Sarwat Karim Ansari last October.

In this constituency, Kartar Singh Bhadana is the BJP candidate contesting the elections, while Qazi Nizamuddin of Congress is contesting from the same seat, while the BSP has fielded Ubdedur Rahman. Nizamuddin was seen accompanying the injured men to the hospital.

In a video accessed by The Quint, Nizamuddin can be heard saying:

"I was only able to reach after an hour. Look at their condition (showing the injured men). Four-five people beat them. Nobody even came to take them to the hospital. Now police can do whatever investigation they want to against me, I will first take these bleeding men to the hospital."

He alleged that the police did not help or take action at the spot.

"They were trying to stop Muslims, Dalits from voting and reduce the voting percentage," said Hussain Ali.

Qazi Nizamuddin took the injured to a hospital.

(Photo: Screenshot from video accessed by The Quint)

He also posted a video on Facebook of the local voters narrating the incident.

"The police came later. Two of our people are seriously injured. What will poor people do if they can't vote? Poor people know to how to give their answer '" one the locals can be heard saying in the video.

Qadir who was at the spot, said the police arrived later and made the main accused, Pradhan leave the scene to resume the polling peacefully.

However, the police have a different story to tell.

Manglaur CO Vivek Kumar, speaking to The Quint said, "Police reached the spot in a timely manner and we dispersed the crowd. Peace has been restored now."

On allegations of voter suppression and the conduct by the BJP workers, he responded, "We're looking into it."

In fact, some hours after the violence, Uttarakhand police took to X (formerly Twitter) and wrote:

"During the Manglaur assembly by-election, the injured in the argument and fight between two parties over voting outside the booth in village Libbarheri are being treated in the hospital. The information of firing at the booth is completely baseless. Adequate police force is present on the spot. Voting is going on smoothly and peacefully."

Meanwhile, reportedly after pressure from Congress, a complaint has also been filed with the local police in which they have asked the police to check CCTV cameras and expedite the investigation process.

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