Hate crime: yet again, Muslim family assaulted by Hindus in Jammu

They want to occupy our land and police is helping them: say victims

Jammu, August 20 (KMS): In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, in yet another incident of violence against Muslims in the Jammu region, a group of men belonging to the Hindu community physically assaulted a nomadic family, leaving several of them injured.

The incident took place at Ladadhar in Kri area of Samba district on August 10. One of the family members told media that around two dozen men from the Hindu community began rearing their cattle outside the Gujjar-Bakerwal sheds provoking the community to clash. However, when the Gujjars objected, the furious Hindu mob physically assaulted around seven persons including women of the Gujjar community.

“This is happening for over a month now,” said Bashir Ahmed, whose nephew was also injured in the communal attack.

The community is residing on the land for centuries now; however, some people from Hindu Community, who Bashir said, are backed by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Shiv Sena, are hell-bent on the eviction of Muslim nomads from the area.

Last month, members from the Gujjar-Bakerwal community approached Deputy Commissioner Ramban and sought a proper investigation into the matter and action against the culprits for inciting violence. Instead of taking action against the community for violence, the family member said that the DC sent the personnel from police’s Special Operation Group (SOG) and Indian Army to escort the Hindus that they can rear their cattle on area of Muslims. Whenever the Hindus come and we object, the army and police force us to remain silent, Bashir said, terming the administration’s move biased and unfair. He said men from Hindu community belong to different districts like Ramban, Reasi, and Udhampur but deliberately come to this site.

On August 10, it was around 9:00, in the morning, and a posse of men from Hindu community arrived outside the Gujjar sheds. The armed forces’ personnel, who according to Bashir, escort the Hindus, had not arrived yet. When the Gujjars objected, Bashir said the Hindus attacked them and left many from the Gujjar community wounded.

The Hindus were carrying blades with which they put cuts on their bodies letting others assume that they were attacked by Gujjars, Bashir said, adding no attack was launched on them rather they attacked his family.

Videos circulating on social media sites show blood oozing photos of a man and a woman from the Gujjar-Bakarwal community who were attacked by fanatic Hindus.

According to the Gujjar family, the boundaries for cattle rearing are separate for both the communities but the other community deliberately comes in their side to clash with them. Trying every possible way to reach the officials and lodge a complaint, the family said they have sought a local court’s help for a time-bound action against the culprits.

On August 18, the family said they approached a court in Batote area of the district and that has directed the concerned police station to look into the matter. “We already visited the police station many times but no action has been taken so far,” Bashir said. The court meanwhile has sent a letter to Police station Charankot, asking the officers to listen to the Gujjar community, he added.

Another family member, Taiya Billa, who currently resides in Jammu, said the FIR has been registered against twenty persons of his community.

Shabbir Ahmed, 31, a social activist from the district, told media that such incidents may happen in the future as there are sluggish efforts being seen on the ground to sort out the issue.

The Hindu community wants to “occupy the land as they are backed by many people with great political influence”. The Gujjar-Bakerwal community does not exist from today, they have been living here for centuries, said Shabbir, who lives few kilometres away from the community.

A Tribal Rights Activist, Choudhary Irshad Khatana, said that the Gujjar-Bakarwal community is time and again being attacked by the Hindu community and mostly in Jammu region. Terming the assault a communal attack, the activist said the administration must take concrete steps so that such incidents are not being witnessed in future. He, on behalf of the Gujjar community, also requested the authorities to protect the Muslims from such communal attacks.