‘Beaten Up For Being Muslim’: Migrant Returning Home Shares Ordeal

A migrant returning home to Jharkhand from Hyderabad was allegedly assaulted and accused of spreading COVID-19. 

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A migrant returning to his home in Jharkhand all the way from Hyderabad was allegedly assaulted on the way and accused of spreading COVID-19. His family claims the police back home turned a deaf ear to their appeals.

Mohd Majid Ansari narrated his ordeal to The Quint. Here’s his story.

19-year-old Majid and his two younger brothers had to quit their studies owing to their family’s worsening financial condition. Majid had no option but to go to Hyderabad looking for a job. He was working in Hyderabad as a Poplen machine driver and was earning Rs 15,000 every month.

He lost his job when the nationwide lockdown was announced. With no salary for two months, depleting resources and extending lockdown, Majid made up his mind to go back home.

On 12 May, he left for home on foot. He walked all the way from to Nagpur, then Jhansi, and then reached Kanpur on a truck on 16 May. On 17 May at 2 am, the police stopped their truck at a checkpost outside Kanpur City.


‘Assaulted For Being A Muslim’

Majid told The Quint, “We were stopped at a police checkpost and were asked where we were headed. When we said we were returning home, they let us go. After walking for a while, one policeman came and told us that we need to get a coronavirus test done. We agreed and were taken away in an ambulance.

“The driver stopped the ambulance in the middle of a forest and asked us to show our ID cards. The others objected, saying that they were being taken for the test. The driver said he wanted to check our travel history. Everyone then showed their Aadhaar cards. After seeing the Aadhaar cards, four others were returned their cards. My Aadhaar card, however, was not returned. I then asked the driver to return my card. The driver’s assistant came and started hitting me. I asked him to stop.”
Mohd Majid Ansari, Jharkhand Migrant Who Returned From Hyderabad

Majid went on to narrate how the ambulance driver's assistant then told him, “Sit quietly, you are Muslims, you are spreading coronavirus.” And then he got into a physical scuffle and kept hitting him. The driver also came and strangled him with a gamcha (cotton towel). He kept struggling against the assaulters and ended up breaking the glass door.

“I broke open the glass door, escaped and ran inside the forest. I called my brother Sajid and informed him about the incident. Then, my phone got switched off. They chased me for a long time but I somehow managed to escape.”
Mohd Majid Ansari, Jharkhand Migrant Who Returned From Hyderabad

‘Our Appeals to The Police Fell on Deaf Ears’: Majid’s Family

Majid’s brother Sajid got a call from him on 17 May and he got to know about his brother’s ordeal. However, Majid’s phone got switched off in the middle of the communication and there was no way Sajid could know about his brother’s whereabouts. So he decided to file a complaint with the local police station.

“When I spoke to the officer at the Mandu police station and filed a report, the officer read the report and said that my brother is in a different state, so it doesn’t come under their jurisdiction. I requested the officer to track my brother’s phone and help us locate him. But, no action was taken. Though the officer agreed to file a missing person report, I thought if they could take action over a missing report, why could they not help with the assault?”
Sajid, Majid’s Brother

Finally, Lucknow Police Helped Majid Reach Home

Majid had left Hyderabad because he wanted to go home. Instead, he had to run for his life in a different state. Majid said that he somehow reached Lucknow on foot, hungry and thirsty, but with no money. The ambulance driver and his assistant had allegedly snatched his ATM card, his licence and the 7,000 rupees that he was carrying. He had a mobile but that got switched off. Finally, some policemen in Lucknow came to his rescue and put him on the bus that was going to the Bihar border. From there, Majid somehow reached his home in Mandu, Jharkhand.

(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.)

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