74 Muslims including 7 juveniles arrested, peacemaker Shaikh Muniruddin shot in Sambhajinagar police firing: Report

The Ram Navmi driven violence in erstwhile Aurangabad (Sambhajinagar) has left the minority Muslims traumatised, especially women, with over six dozen families facing false criminal cases and the stoppage of daily wage earnings; these are the findings of a short fact-finding report by an NGO, Bebaak Collective
Image: Bebaak Collective

The most tragic story is that of 57 year old Shaikh Muniruddin becoming the tragic victim of police firing on April 29 at Sambhajinagar when he was urging the mob to desist and go back! As bad as the tragic and unnecessary loss of life is that his name figures in the police FIR as a rioter. According to the short fact-finding report by Bebaak Collective, released on May 31 after physical visits to the areas and interviews arecorded, Muniruddin was requesting the mob to return but fearing that the mob would storm into the building, he locked the entrances of the Faiz building from inside with the chairman of the building for their safety. According to the report, at the time of the police firing, the electricity of the building went off. On that evening, the residents of the Faiz building were terrified. Most of them had locked themselves inside the building and it was only much later that Muniruddin’s son tried to unlock the door, found their father in that state; by the time they could break the lock, Munir had lost much of the blood. Both his sons took him to MGM Hospital in a two-wheeler where later he was announced dead. After Muniruddin’s death during the Kiradpura tensions, his family moved to his mother’s place in Rengtipura.

There are similar other tragic accounts in the report.

One of the eyewitnesses, narrates that the incidents at Kiradpura happened between 1 am to 4.00 am. She narrated that on April 30 (night of April 29-30), at around 1 am, there were futile attempts by the police to disperse the crowd. Two Maulanas also announced maintaining law and order from the Police Jeep, but since there was hardly any police protection, they got injured.

In terms of background, the team recorded that in previous years, during the Ram Navami celebrations, the communities have lived peacefully celebrated their festivals in this area in the past few years. On one side of the lane, there used to be Ram Navami Celebration, and on the other side, the market used to be lit with Iftar shops. This time, however, there was some sloganeering outside the temple. She narrated how those people who gave slogans of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ and incited violence in the area do not figure in the police’s chargesheets.

According to her, the crowd was not from the Kiradpura area. They were all wearing masks and hoodies, and everyone was wearing similar caps. Unlike the news reports claimed, it was a mob of around 50 people, not 500-600. She also claimed that these were all people from outside and not from Kiradpura as she had never seen those people in that area.

Ohar, a village around 10-12 kilometres from Aurangabad was not spared. According to the 2021 census, Ohar has a population of 2631[1] constituting the caste Hindus, Muslims, people from scheduled castes, and scheduled tribes. The team visited Ohar village. Interviewing a group of Muslim women whose tales were full of tragedy recounting the incidents after the Ram Navami celebrations. The women narrated that on March 31, some Hindus organised a procession outside the mosque with loud music and provocative lyrics related to Aurangzeb, the so-called new name Chattrapati Sambhajinagar calling for violence against Muslims. This procession also tore apart the ‘Tipu Sultan’ poster at the village entrance. Some of the Muslim men asked them to stop the DJ, but they refused to do so.

According to this version recorded by the team, the next morning at around 8.30 am, when most of them were sleeping after the Sehri, and no one was anticipating the tensions. But tensions were triggered, and it was believed that this tension would be resolved within the village by having discussions with each other like had happened in the past few years. However, there was stone pelting from both sides. Hindu women were also in the clashes. They were also pelting stones and attacking the men from the Muslim community. These women narrated that they were people from outside in the crowd, so they started calling the police, but there was no response. The Muslim women also stated that many men “mishandled Muslim women in these clashes” and “many people from the Muslim community got injured.”

One of the Muslim women who runs a small shop in the village got stabbed on the neck by a Hindu man. Several women received stitches and sutures after suffering serious wounds and were poorly injured. An injured woman Around the 30 people who were arrested were all Muslims from the village. These families also submitted the suggestion form at the collector’s office against the change in the name of the city Aurangabad to Chattrapati Sambhajinagar. These women, whose family members got arrested, still ask why the police came half an hour late to the site of violence? Why did the Police arrest the majority of the Muslims from the village? The incidents of such brutal assault, stabbing in the neck, being manhandled, and facing abusive slurs have impacted these women’s lives.

News of the nature of the violence and role of the police did not make it to any newspaper, and what happened to them remained within the bounds of that village.

Paldhi, a village in Jalgaon: around 14 km from Jalgaon, a small town Paldhi witnessed similar patterns of communal tensions that broke out on the night of 28th April. The team visited Paldhi and met women who shared their experiences; they recounted the horrors of the night of April 28.

Paldhi is a Muslim-dominated area. Many Muslim-owned shops were razed to the ground says the report, and for most families, this was the only source of livelihood. Rioters even broke down the board of the cemetery.[2] These women in Paldhi described how even the police attacked them after the violence. Police stormed their houses, broke the doors, dragged the residents, and gave abusive slurs to Muslim women resisting their entry. The police, according to what women have stated and that has been put in the Bebaak report, were in a drunken state and donning civil clothes, entered to search for lethal weapons in the houses of farmers and labourers.

All these houses of the Muslim community are either charred or damaged. The damaged doors of Muslim residents due to the Police crackdown Police dragged several Muslim youths out of their homes at midnight. These family members were in a state of immense despair while narrating these incidents. They have not slept for days.

A survivor of the 1992 riots in Paldhi recounted the horrible incident of a Hindu mob killing a Muslim man. The 1992 riots were permanently etched in the memory of a 70-year-old woman who did not step out of her house after this recent violence in her area. Each of these incidents made them conscious of their Muslim identity and brought flashbacks of loss and pain.

A Recurring Pattern of these Riots:

The Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) led by Uddhav Thackery on the last day of its cabinet (June 2022) decided to rename Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar and Osmanabad as Dharashiv. The Shinde-Fadnavis led state government also approved the renaming of Aurangabad as Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar and Osmanabad as Dharashiv. The politics of renaming of the cities through which these political parties have envisioned their political prominence and electoral power has resulted in the site of ethnic conflict and violence, states the report.

“There is undoubtedly a broader recurring pattern. The script is to provoke a community by attacking the religious and worship spaces, specifically taking processions with loud music and provoking slogans in front of Muslim neighbourhoods and Mosques during the time of prayer (Namaz), inciting stone-pelting and then further targeting Muslims by indiscriminate arrests and destroying their businesses and properties.”

The Role of the Police:

“The role of the police has been highly disappointing, whether in a big city like Aurangabad, a small town of Paldhi, or a rural village like Ohar. Police were nowhere seen to be taking any actions against those who incited this violence. It is infuriating and shameful that the provocateurs are always sheltered with state impunity. The arbitrary and indiscriminate arrests of Muslim youth suggest the state’s complicity and apathy.

“The police administration has displayed a bias as there have been no actions taken against those persons belonging to the Hindu community who incited the violence by shouting provocative slogans. There is no accountability from the police regarding the death of a civilian in this violence and the firing conducted in a residential area such as Kiradpura Lane.

“The attempts by the police to disperse the mob directly through firing of bullets without preceding and laid down procedures like release of tear gas or lathi charge to disperse a mob has been habitual, even in the past.The state is mandated to provide protection and monetary compensation to victims of such violence, but the police filed a chargesheet against the victim.

“The police has refused to hand over the CCTV footage in front of the Ram Mandir in Kiradpura and take action according to the evidence. On the other hand, under the pretext of 40,000 calls made during the time of violence in Kiradpura, police have picked several innocents who were not even present in the vicinity. There is no accountability for the arrests of minors in this violence.

“In Ohar, the police administration took no immediate action despite the police being informed of mobs on the rampage. The media has remained silent and hence compliant by not reporting on reports of police intimidation and brutality and also the plight of Muslim women.

Violence against Muslim women and the Impact on Mental Health:

“The anti-Muslim violence during the Ram Navami festivals in Kiradpura, Ohar, and Paldhi has severely impacted the lives of Muslim women living in these areas. The impact of these religious extremists’ violence on Muslim women and their mental health often goes unacknowledged. People have spoken about the emotional trauma they have gone through during this time.

“The Muslim community is in a state t shock after witnessing such violence and hatred in their neighbourhood. The routine interaction with the police officials and visits to the jail to undergo these legal processes have resulted in burnout and loss of hope for a better future.

 “ मारेहदल मेंबहुत खौफ , मारेकारोबार सब बिंद  गए, रमजान के हदन …. पुलीस का बहुत डर – we are scared, our businesses and errands are now shut, these are the days of Ramzan and we are scared of the Police”

“मेरेो बच्चें वो अब ऐसेभागतेहफरतेरे तें  – My children are running here and there.” “ मारेआदहमयोंको उठाके लेगए, म अके लेऔरतेंथी, मको डर था की पुहलस मको उठा लेाएगी, इसहलए म गांव छोड़कर ररश्तेदारोंके य चलेगए थे– they took our men, we were all alone, we were scared that police will take us too, that’s why we left our village and went to our neighbour

“The nature of the investigation carried out by the police authorities the next day of violence has humiliated Muslim women. They were intimidated and threatened to submit their family members to police for questioning. In Paldhi, the police personnel verbally abused them and even made communal and sexual slurs. Due to the Police crackdown at midnight, damaging the property of the Muslim residents, the children, and other family members are still traumatised. After the police crackdown, many families started sleeping under the same roof.

“The loss of social and financial security because of these riots has put enormous burdens on women from the Muslim community. This also has impacted the mental health of the women and the children. Muslim youth are compelled to change their career paths and aspirations because of biases about their Muslim identity.

“बच्चेंघर के बा र नी, आदहमयांघर पर बैठेंहुए , औरतोंनेक्या करना, कै सेहिदिंगी पालना? – Children have stopped going outside, the men are sitting without any job, how will women sustain their family?”

“The police administration in Kiradpura, Ohar, and Paldhi have enjoyed complete impunity for the crackdown and violence against Muslim women. The routine violation of a Muslim person’s rights has aggravated feelings of isolation and immense fear among Muslim youth and women. The Muslim women from Rahmaniya colony, Ohar village and Paldhi all speaks of injustices committed by the administration.

“They demand justice and speaks of collective struggle and resilience during these times. “इन्साफ मांगता” – “We want Justice” 21 Muslim women in Paldhi sharing their experiences of the clashes Muniruddin used to sell parts of automobiles with some meager income to sustain his family. After the lockdown, their work got severely affected.

“Hina’s mother is a domestic worker, and her father is a plumber. Sohail and Javed were used to assist them with work. People in Ohar and Paldhi are small-scale traders, farmers, and daily wage labourers. These families come from a marginalized working-class socio-economic background. “The community living in these neighbourhoods and villages face food insecurity, job insecurity, and inaccessible healthcare services.

“Most of the affected have been labourers, and daily wage earners, who could not get their education and were forced to work at an early age. There are many families whose children and family members got arrested. Among the detained are primarily young men of around 20–30- year-olds; children 14-17 are also accused of rioting. Most of these families do not have money to hire a lawyer to release their children. Their families do not know how to proceed with legal matters or the loss of daily earnings when these families have to visit the jail. They do not know what to say to their children when they meet them inside the prison about what the future awaits them.

“A team of lawyers in Aurangabad is taking up these false cases and giving the family free counselling. Many of the Muslim youths who were framed with false claims have emerged as innocents. People never anticipated that they would grieve for their own in the month of Ramzan. These people were robbed of their festival and were made to suffer in a most hostile way. Families got separated, Roza- fasting turned into visits to jail, and with every dawn of Sehri, they saw their hopes dwindle.

“The following day (iimediately after the violence experienced), the Muslim community in Kiradpura offered Sherbet to those who came to celebrate Ram Navami outside Ram Mandir. After such violence, this act of offering peace seems more like the helplessness of a Muslim citizen in the face of such hate crimes.

“The case of Munniruddin is what any innocent Muslim citizen must pay to live in this nation ruled by the sole agenda of hatred. After 15-16 days after the violence, there is some hustle-bustle on the Kiradpura streets, and people are returning to the market for daily necessities.

“The shops in Kiradpura are now open, although police officials are still patrolling this area. Many residents hope to rebuild their lives against the hatred at every step.


  • We demand that the state take responsibility and necessary actions to ensure justice for the victims and survivors.
  • It is the first and foremost responsibility of the state to maintain law and order, especially when two festivals of different religious groups are coinciding. The permission to organize religious rallies and gatherings should not be granted unconditionally.
  • The police should review the chargesheet and remove Muniruddin Shaikh’s name as a rioter.
  • Muniruddin’s family should be given monetary compensation from the state. There should be an action against the police personnel who shot Muniruddin Shaikh.
  • The state shall provide legal services to the victims and persons falsely accused of this violence. It shall ensure that monetary compensation is paid to all victims.
  • The state shall ensure a quick probe into those who incited the violence by provoking slogans and playing loud music in front of the Mosques. The police should review and consider the CCTV footages from the cameras installed in Ram Mandir.[3]
  • The state shall take strict actions against the police administration for sexually assaulting Muslim women in Paldhi. It shall also ensure an effective legal representation to women victims of sexual assault in this violence and a committee sensitive to dealing with and assisting juveniles accused as rioters.
  • The media shall behave non-partisan way and pressurize the ruling government to take necessary actions, take accountability for its actions, and control such communal clashes.
  • The civil organizations in Maharashtra shall come in solidarity and raise their voices against the rising communal polarization, conflicts, and anti-Muslim violence.

The entire report of Bebaak Collective may be read here:

[1] Ohar Village Population – Aurangabad – Aurangabad, Maharashtra. (n.d.). https://www.census2011.co.in/data/village/548767-html#:~:text=The%20Ohar%20village%20has%20population,as%20per%20Population%20Census%20 2011. 14

[2] Shaikh, Z. (2023, April 5). Communal violence in Maharashtra’s Jalgaon district after row over music being played in front of mosque. The Indian Express. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/communal-violencemaharashtras-row-over-music-played-mosque-8526246/ 16

[3] Express News Service. (2023, May 25). Akola clashes: Instagram account handler, man who complained against him held. The Indian Express. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/akola-clashes-instagramaccount-handler-complainant-held-8625372/ 23


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