Malegaon tense after ‘gau rakshaks’ go on the rampage, Muslim youth thrashed

Muslim shops stoned, armed police deployed in the textile town to restore peace

Malegaon Tense
Image: Inquilab

The textile town of Muslim majority Malegaon remained tense on Wednesday following ugly incidents on Tuesday when Hindutva mobs backed by the BJP targeted Muslim youth under the pretext of saving cows and progeny of cows, reports the Urdu daily, Inquilab.

Rightwing Hindutva outfits demonstrated on the streets on Wednesday and attempted to enforce a bandh in the city. Muslim homes and shops were stoned while Muslims passing through Hindu localities were beaten up in several cases.

The police force deployed for bandobust acted sternly in its effort to control the crowds. But in some places the agitationists had their way.

Meanwhile, butchers from the Quresh community registered their protest against the unlawful action of the gau rakshaks (cow vigilantes) by keeping their shops shut for the day. As a result no meat was to be had in the Muslim predominant localities of the town throughout the day.

Posses of armed police were deployed on Wednesday in the sensitive localities of Malegaon to ensure peace. The five persons who were injured during the incidents of Tuesday are undergoing treatment in different hospitals. One of the injured is a cow vigilante while the other four are Muslims.

Activists of the Gau Raksha Samiti, VHP and Bajrang Dal took out a procession on Wednesday morning and staged a sit-in outside the office of the Additional Collector, Malegaon. They demanded police action against those indulging in slaughter of progeny of cows and arrest of persons responsible for attacking the gau rakshaks.

Leaders of BJP, RSS, VHP, Shiv Sena and Hindu Mahasabha addressed the demonstrators. No police permission was taken for the demonstration and it was evident they were itching to create a law and order issue.

After submitting a memorandum to the authorities, the demonstrators headed towards a Muslim locality but were blocked by the police. The agitators then tore up banners put up near the statue of Jyotiba Phule and hurled stones at Muslim homes and shops in the locality. Fruit carts were looted and incendiary, anti-Muslim slogans raised.

Background to the conflict:

On February 14, VHP activists intercepted a pick-up truck which was suspected to be transporting cattle from Manmad to Malegaon. The two occupants of the vehicle, Mohammed Farooq and Shaikh Rahim were pulled out and badly thrashed. Farooq was so badly beaten by the armed assailants that he had injuries all over his face and body.

Farooq then lodged a complaint with the police naming one Machinder Shedke of VHP and three others. Taking cognizance of the complaint the police lodged an FIR. Shedke for his part filed a counter-complaint against Farooq and a few others at another police station.

Meanwhile, after thrashing Farooq and Rahim, VHP activists had attempted to block traffic on the national highway on Tuesday. The agitators raised inflammatory, anti-Muslim slogans. This resulted in a skirmish between the VHP activists and some Muslim youth from the area.

A local journalist told Sabrang India today that the situation in Malegaon is now under control.



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