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Nagpur: 12 Muslims Booked After Ram Temple Rally; Mob Beats Family, Raids Home

"They have booked the Muslims who retaliated and the ones who jumped in to help," recount local Muslims in Nagpur.

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Video Editors: Jaspreet Singh, Kriti Saxena

"They shouted K***a, Mulla, Jai Shri Ram said, 'We'll come after this masjid and then another' during their rally."

This is what several Muslim men confirmed to The Quint who were detained for three days after a rally was taken out in the Mominpura in Nagpur, Maharashtra on 22 January to celebrate the Ram temple consecration ceremony in Ayodhya.

Twelve men have been booked are between the age of 23-30, including three minors. One of them turned 18 two days after he got bail.

The day of Ram temple consecration saw a spate of communal violence across different parts in the country. Two such incidents took place in Nagpur.

"Around 3 PM, I came out of Jama Masjid after offering namaz and was wearing my cap. Some men came towards us with saffron flags and chanting hateful slogans and one of them drove their motorcycle over my leg," alleged Faiz* 23, one of the boys booked in the case.

An FIR has been registered under IPC charges of rioting and causing hurt by weapons, (sections 143, 146, 147, 148, 149, 323, 324 and 341). The Quint has accessed the written complaint.

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'Jai Shri Ram & Mulle Kaate Jaayenge' Slogans Raised

Faiz and other boys stated that the rallies had been taking place since the morning, but in the afternoon the physical fight happened after which hundreds of right-wing men from Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) joined in.

"I told them to watch where they are driving, so they called me names like K***a, Mulla and that's when we got into a physical fight. "Abhi ek girayi hai, abhi dusri baaki hain. Agla number hain jama masjid ka" they said, referring the mosques.
Faiz* 23
  • The right-wing mob gathered in Mominpura Nagpur.

    (Photo: Screenshot from video accessed by The Quint)

Other Accused Had 'Jumped In to Help'

Local Muslims say that other Muslim men jumped in to defend them, one of them being Taha*, 30, among those who have been booked.

"We were only 9-10 people and we heard them shout 'Jai Shri Ram' and 'Mulle Kaate jaayenge' among other things. A night before, they had also rallied like this. They had chanted such slogans in the presence of the police but nothing was done."

As per the locals, the mosque committee in the area had even met with the police on 20 January to request them for protection via a barricade but it wasn't done before the incident.

Meanwhile, among the minors who have been accused, Rashid* and Raheem* spoke to The Quint.

"I saw one of them giving a cut to Faiz, that's when the fight happened and I had gone in to defend and save them," said Rashid*.

Javed Iqbal, one of the shop-owners close to the mosque told The Quint, "We don't have a problem with the rally, the problem is that the next day they started saying derogatory, offensive and abusive statements. It started from 4-5 boys and then many more arrived suddenly."

Iqbal stated that the right-wing mob allegedly went to the chowk and incorrectly stated that they had 'insulted Ram' and that they had not done anything wrong.

On other hand, Raheem* who is the youngest in his family, along with Faiz* and others have also alleged police brutality while they were locked up in Tehsil police station.

"In the police custody, they had also beaten and abused us and said that 'in every festival, you'll have to come here.' Another woman officer who came in called us 'terrorists' and to 'go to Pakistan.' The second policeman who had beaten us even told her not to say such remarks," the accused alleged.

On the other hand, Niketan Kiledar, the investigating officer in the case told The Quint, "The boys were never sent to another police officer, no lady officer also met them, because we released them a day after. They weren't that much time in the police custody."

Kiledar claimed that no such remarks were made. "The boys from the other side are not our relatives and these boys are not our enemies, so why would we beat them?" He added that he gave some time to one of the minors to complete his exams and see him later.

Raheem also added that his parents had questioned the police, asking them: "Why are only our kids locked up and investigated like this? why are the boys from the other side not being looked into?"

Local Businessman, Activist Helps With Bail

Javed Akhtar, a businessman and local social activist came to their rescue and helped with getting them bail.

Speaking to The Quint, he said, "We had given the police reference from the Hanuman Jayanti rally when these right-wing men had carried swords and took out the rally here. Hence, we requested to not let the rally go from this side."

The police often holds a 'peace-keeping' meeting among the local communities before festivals. But this time, Akhtar wasn't invited.

Akhtar stated that police had assured that the rally won't happen but it still did and continued till late afternoon.

Meanwhile, Kiledar noted, "It was not a rally per say, just 4-5 people on a bike with flags in front of Unani medical college in Mominpura. The accused were waiting at the scene and when these guys reached the area, they stopped and beat them with lathis. They questioned them why they were chanting Jai Shri Ram and hit them."

"They have booked the Muslims who retaliated and the ones who jumped in to help," recount local Muslims in Nagpur.

The right-wing mob gathered in Mominpura Nagpur.

(Photo: Screenshot from video accessed by The Quint)

Kiledar said that no separate route was assigned as "it was not a rally." He added that the minors will be represented before the magistrate in juvenile justice court at the time of charge-sheet.

"We are still investigating, if we still get more evidence then we will take action accordingly," he added.

Case No.2: 'They Hit Us on Heads With Lathis'

Mehjabeen Malik, who is a homemaker, left her house with her family of seven in Yashodara nagar on 22 January, to avoid any untoward incident. The family returned around 8-8:30 PM the same day only to find the clothes on their terrace were burnt.

Theirs is one of the few Muslim families in the area. Shortly after, the right-wing mob burst crackers in front of their front door.

"My husband went out and told them to burst the crackers a little far from their place, this pissed them off and they hurled abuses at him. Then got a crowd of 100-200 men with swords and lathis and brutally thrashed all of us."
Mehjabin Malik, 35
"They have booked the Muslims who retaliated and the ones who jumped in to help," recount local Muslims in Nagpur.

The locals with the family who was beaten up.

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

A video accessed by The Quint shows the damage incurred on their home. The doors have been torn down, a bike, scooter, meters have been destroyed. The TV, furniture and tiles on the floor have also been damaged.

Malik added, "Now, just imagine, if this is the situation of the house, what would our be situation like?"

The police arrived at the scene later. While all seven members have been beaten, including two minors, five of them were hospitalised at Indira Gandhi Medical College.

"They hit us all on our heads. I have got six stitches and my shoulder is fractured, my husband has got 10 stitches, my son got 5 stitches and a sword cut part of his ear and my brother-in-law's ribs have been broken. He was beaten up so badly that he couldn't move and the boys thought he's dead so they left him," said Malik.
  • Ali Malik. Mehabin's husband. Family members hospitalised.

    (Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

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Shahrukh Khan who works in mineral water distribution and in NGO Noorie Mehfil helped the family with financial aid when he was informed by a local that their house has been raided.

Khan accompanied Malik to file a police complaint. "When we went to the police station, they acknowledged the attack on the family and the house and that they will get Rs 2 lakh compensation, the CP told us," said Khan.

The Quint has accessed the FIR copy filed by the family in Yashodhara nagar police station on the charges of IPC (143, 147, 452 and 323, etc) pertaining to house-trespass, unlawful assembly, rioting and causing hurt.

Bhedudkar, senior Police Inspector at the same station told The Quint, "No arrests have been done yet. We have got videos and are identifying. Because the family is being treated and from the other side, two guys got some injury too, we are still investigating" he added.

At the moment, the police has stationed 25 policemen in that area and installed CCTV cameras.

Meanwhile a constable was suspended and three others are under lens in the Yashodhara nagar case.

(*Names have been changed to protect identity).

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