A Muslim youth who worked in a Calcutta restaurant was killed and his two companions seriously injured when a mob branded them thieves and attacked them in Bihar’s Gaya in the early hours of Thursday, February 23, The Telegraph has reported.
The maimed limbs of the slain Muhammad Babar, 28, who was to be married in two months, “had been twisted like crushed sugarcane and his neck seemed to have been pierced with a rod or stake”, his elder brother Saddam Hussain said. The brutal and tragic killing is the latest in a long line of anti-Muslim lynchings that have dotted the country since 2014
His brother Babar told the media that before his death that the three youths were travelling in an SUV and had stopped at a small bridge near Diha village to prepare khaini (tobacco for chewing), a police officer said. It was at this point that they were attacked, the police officer said on the condition of anonymity. He said the injured — Muhammad Sajid and Muhammad Rukmuddin — had corroborated this. “The villagers accused them of being thieves and beat them brutally,” the officer said.
Babar, a cook churning out the famed and love biryani in Kolkatta (Calcutta), had returned home to Karisarai village, around 6km from Diha, to get the house painted and attend to other wedding preparations, the elder brother said. Saddam, an engineer with Hindustan Petroleum in Mumbai who arrived home after learning of the lynching, said the three youths were returning from a feast at another village when they were attacked.
They had borrowed a large car, an SUV from a neighbour, he added. He said Babar was buried on Friday after the body was handed over to the family on completion of the post-mortem. Some other police sources claimed the three youths had come to Diha, about 100km south of Patna, with the “intention of committing crime”, and the villagers, angry about a series of recent thefts, caught and thrashed them.
Local police have a different narrative. They have told the media, some officers that three bullets, a country-made bomb, a dagger and a chopper had been found inside the SUV. They added that the two injured men faced criminal cases, including those of attempt to murder and assault, lodged in 2016 and 2017. Babar had no criminal charges against him.
“My nephew was falsely accused of theft and killed. We want justice,” Babar’s uncle Afroz Alam told reporters from different media. Babar’s family has demanded the immediate arrest of the killers and a compensation of Rs 20 lakh.
The police have themselves registered a case of murder against unknown people, and the families of the injured men have lodged an FIR for assault. “A special investigation team has been constituted under the assistant superintendent of police, law and order, to arrest the people involved in the incident,” Gaya senior superintendent of police Ashish Bharti said.
A statement issued by Gaya police said: “The Belaganj station house officer rescued the three persons from the village on Thursday and dispatched them to the primary health centre in the area for treatment. The doctors there referred them to ANMMCH (Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College and Hospital, in Gaya town) for better treatment.”
It said Babar was declared dead at the hospital. Sources said the injured had been shifted to the Patna Medical College and Hospital.
Sabrangindia had reported that, how, reportedly, on Wednesday, February 22, a mob in Gaya, Bihar, ruthlessly beat up Mohd Babar, Sajid and Rakhmuddeen –three Muslim youths– on “suspicion of theft”, killing one near instantly and leaving the other two in critical condition. According to the report published by Maktoob Media, the incident occurred on the night of February 22 in the Gaya district of Bihar’s Barachatti block. Accoding to a local witness, it was villagers apprehended the youths, took law into their hands and mercilessly thrashed the three young men. It is being alleged by the villagers that the men were carrying weapons.
They were later handed over to police, who took them to the hospital. However, one of the men, Mohd Babar, aged 28, died as a result of his injuries. Sajid and Rakhmuddeen, the other two men who were attacked by the mob, are in critical condition. They had been admitted to Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College before being transferred to Patna Hospital due to their serious condition.
This incident comes on the back of another shocking incident, just over a week ago, when two young men, Junaid and Nasir were brutally beaten and burned to death in Bhiwani, Rajasthan. Sabrangindia had reported on February 16 how, after being kidnapped two days before, these two young youth, who had nothing to do with ‘cows’ were abducted and brutally killed in Haryana. The impunity enjoyed by vigilantes in that state has not been curbed since the first incidents there in 2014.