Muslims flee UP village after police books 200 men under UAPA

The police have arrested 19 people from Khair and claimed to have identified 52 others. Police officials, however, now claim the UAPA was invoked wrongly, and that they will drop it from the FIR.


Anti Muslims

Image: Indian Express
Bahraich: Muslim residents of Khair village in Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh have fled after the police booked close to 200 people of their community under UAPA. 19 people were arrested and an FIR was lodged in connection with a clash on Oct 20 following a religious procession.
The police have arrested 19 people from Khair and claimed to have identified 52 others. Police officials, however, now claim the UAPA was invoked wrongly, and that they will drop it from the FIR.
Sabrang India had reported how an FIR was filed by a member of the Durga Puja procession Ashish Kumar Shukla. It was alleged that on 20th October 2018, a procession from a few villages for the immersion of a Durga idol turned violent at Khaira Bazar. Reports suggest that 40 Muslim are in police custody including those who have not been named in the FIR.
“Those 80 Muslims along with 100-200 others were hiding on the way of the procession and when it was passing through the Khaira village on way to Badnapur for immersion, they attacked it,” Shukla had said. The complainant claimed in the FIR that the attackers were armed with guns, pistols, bombs and swords and some 50 people were injured.
The village borders Nepal. Heavy police force including PAC has been deployed in Khair, and shops are closed. The village bears a deserted look, with most of the houses locked. The other houses are inhabited by the elderly, women and children. Many who have stayed back allege harassment by the police.
“There was a clash between Muslims and Hindus, but police registered FIR only against us. No FIR was lodged against people in the procession who engaged in brick-batting and attacked our houses and shops. Police are harassing us,” alleged 63-year-old Jaituna in a report by Indian Express. “All youths left home after the police started raiding our houses. Those who were found were arrested. My sons Ramzan Ali (30) and Nankau (28) are in jail,” says Jaituna, who is left with two daughters-in-law and 10 grandchildren.
The report added that those who have fled include former village head Mohammad Rasheed (45) and head cleric of Jama Masjid at Khair Bazaar, Hafiz Abdul Bari (43). “Rasheed’s family too has left. Police broke their doors and windows when women and children were inside,” says Mohammad Hasan, a neighbour. Farmer Karamatullah (55) says, “When the procession reached near Jama Masjid, some persons in the procession threw gulal on Muslims on the roadside. The latter objected, and a heated argument took place. But people intervened and the matter was resolved. Then some members in the procession again threw gulal inside the masjid, which led to an altercation. Both groups clashed.”
Additional Superintendent of Police, Bahraich, Ravindra Kumar Singh, in the report said, “So far, 71 Muslim youths have been identified as being involved in the clash. It was confirmed after scanning eight videos from locals. So far, 19 accused have been arrested.”
On why there is no FIR against the other group (Hindus), he said, “We have no evidence that two groups clashed. In the videos, people in the procession are only seen chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and not being involved in violence.”
He adds that UAPA had been wrongly been invoked, and they are probing how this happened. “We are now invoking Criminal Law Amendment Act,” he said in the report.
Sabrang India had reported that Human rights groups Rihai Manch and NCHRO (National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations), whose joint delegation visited the area on October 28, found the enaction of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)-1967 and other laws unnecessary in this case and poke many holes in the FIR. They claimed that the complaint was prepared even before the incident took place. Rihai Manch stated that this whole incident was concocted to show Muslims as anti-national and terrorists.



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