By TCN Special Correspondent,
Lucknow: Large scale violence and arson was reported when nearly 35 houses of Muslims were set on fire in a village at Pratapgarh district on Saturday. The violence erupted when villagers set afire houses of Muslims to revenge the alleged rape and death of a dalit girl.
Such was the frenzy of violence that while the village was set on fire police remained mute spectator and could not muster courage to enter the village despite the presence of senior officials.
Tension was brewing in the region after a dalit girl was allegedly raped and killed by few accused who belonged to minority community. However administration acted tough and the villagers had agreed to cremate the dead body and let law take its own course.
On Saturday when the body was being taken for cremation the relatives had made up their plan. In the midway they kept the dead body on road and started protest. Meanwhile the mob turned towards village Ashtan under tehsil Kunda of district Pratapgarh. They targeted nearly three
dozen houses and torched them. Muslims ran for help screaming for saving them. The mob specifically targetted the house of village pradhan Nizam Ahmed and accused Imran, Farahn, Taufiq and Saif. They also used a LPG cylinder to blast the houses.
When the news reached to the police they rushed to the spot. But hundreds of villagers had taken positions and captured every road leading to the village. So while the frenzy continued and every house was targetted and burnt police could not muster courage to enter the village. Whenever police tried to enter the village the mob resorted to stone pelting.
Both SP and DM too were standing with force and fire brigades but could not enter the village. At around 4 pm local Block Pramukh Baijnath Singh reached the scene and police started the action. By that time police force of whole district and adjoining districts as Allahabad, Raibareilly, Sultanpur, Kaushambi too had reached the spot. Even then when SP O P Sagar commanded the police force to enter the village, for five minutes none of them moved.
By the time police reached the spot the whole village was burning. Fire brigades were pushed into action. Meanwhile screams of people from a house caught their attention. Nearly 100 people had been locked in a house and it was set on fire. Luckily police managed to rescue them. Some of them were shifted to a Masjid in village which was surrounded by force later at around 6:30 pm they were sent to Kunda tehsil in police van for safety. The whole village has been charred and not a single house of Muslims is intact.
Heavy police force has been stationed in the village. DM has assured that a police post will be opened there while senior officials like IG, DIG have reached the spot.
This is the second major onslaught on Muslims during the 100 days of Akhilesh Yadav government. The first one being riots in Kosi Kalan where Muslims suffered and now this time the whole village has been wiped out from the scene.
Pratapgarh is the home district of two ministers of AKhilesh government — Raja Bhaiyya and Rajaram Pandey.