“If there is any justice left in India, we will get it,” say Muslim youth beaten by mob in Maharashtra on accusations of animal theft

Picture of Wasim, tied to a tree and beaten by the mob

By Nazish Hussain, TwoCircles.net 

Malegaon: On the night of 22 July, 30-year-old Wasim Khan and 28-year-old Mubin Shaikh were returning to their village in Malegaon in Maharashtra. After entering Parola (a Municipal council in Jalgaon District in Maharashtra) and crossing the village Vasantwadi, they realized they had lost their way, forcing them to return. Upon returning, they found the road was blocked by bullock carts and a crowd of people. “As soon as our vehicle stopped at the place, the people gathered there immediately started attacking us. They tied us to a bush and beat us. They had thick sticks with them. Our hands and feet were injured. The beating continued for around one and a half hour,” Wasim told TwoCircles.net.

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Wasim said when they had crossed the road earlier, there was no one there. “When we returned, we found many people on the road. We were shocked when they started to attack us,” Wasim said.

Mubin Shaikh, who is a driver by profession, told TwoCircles.net that they were going to their village which is 50 kilometres away. “There were a total of 11 animals in my vehicle. There were small animals also, so we had tied them. The moment we stopped our vehicle on the blocked road the mob hit me two-three times with sticks. I ran away from there. They came after me and brought me back to the village and they started beating me mercilessly on the road. They asked me to raise the slogan ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and they started abusing me. They beat me so much that I fell unconscious. One of my legs is fractured and one hand is fractured. They beat us with thick sticks,” he said.

Mubin said that the mob wanted to lynch them as they are Muslims.

“They were beating us so mercilessly as if we were inanimate objects. They wanted to just kill us. They were accusing us of theft and kept asking where have you got this? And how have you got this?” says Wasim, adding, “We kept pleading that those animals belonged to us and we had not stolen them. We had bought them. They were not ready to believe us.”

Narrating the ordeal of how police reached the location and rescued them, he says, “When they were interrogating me I told them there are others with me and let me call them. And I managed to make a phone call to one of my acquaintance Asif and told him of the incident. The mob had some conversation with him and started abusing him. Asif asked them the village’s name and he informed the police.”

Wasim said they did not raise the slogans as demanded by the mob and after police arrived, they were taken to the police station. “The police gave us medical treatment at the police station. They did not discriminate with us,” he added.

Wasim demands justice and says that what happened with them should not happen with anyone else. “The perpetrators should be punished and it should be ensured that such acts are not repeated with anyone else,” he said.

Mubin said the mob took their phones and stole their money. “They have returned one of the phones to the police, but the other one is still with them. We have raised this complaint with the police,” he said, adding, “We want justice and our loss must get recovered by the government.”

Speaking to TwoCircles.net, former Malegaon MLA, Asif Shaikh said that had the duo violated any law, the villagers should have handed them over to the police. “They (the attackers) had no right to take law in their hand,” he said.

Malegaon MLA Mufti Mohammed Ismail told TwoCircles.net that it is very sad that the duo was attacked like this without any proof or investigation. “The law should take action. Those who have beaten them and took them for thieves without any proof should be dealt with strictly by the law,” he said.

Shakeel Kazi, lawyer of Wasim and Mubin says, that “An offence got registered against Wasim and Mubin Shaikh for an offence punishable under section 11(1)(g), (h), (d), (k) of Cruelty to Animal Act 1960 along with section 5d of Maharashtra Preservation Act.”

“I got their bail. They were arrested by the police for that particular offence. After the beating, they were severely injured and could not be produced before the court. The incident happened on 22 July and they were produced before the JMFC Court, Parola on 23 July. Court asked them if they had complaints against police or anybody but they were very scared and did not say anything. They did not make any complaint against anybody,” Kazi said.

Kazi said although the police took the injured duo to the police but have not taken any suo moto cognizance.

“However, the video of the beating went viral on social media. A well-known activist from Jalgaon, Shaikh Farrukh showed this video to SP Jalgaon on 24 July. SP ordered to file an offence under section 307 of IPC against the villagers who had brutally beaten Wasim Khan and Shaikh Mubin,” Kazi said.

Following this, Kazi said that an FIR 116/2020 got registered against 19 villagers who are shown in the video clip, including over 100 unknown persons.

Kazi said that some of the villagers were arrested on 26 July. “The accused preferred the bail application and the same was entertained by LD (learned) JMFC. Police strongly objected to the application and argued that section 307 imposed on this matter is exclusively tried by Sessions Court but LD JMFC used his discretion and ordered to release the accused on bail. The state has moved an appeal under section 373 of CRPC before apex court (court of session Amalner Dist Jalgaon),” he said.

An appeal is filed to set aside the order passed by LD JMFC in remand report dated 26 July and also for cancellation of bail of the accused.

“We have appealed against the MCR given to those people. The hearing is on 30 July,” Kazi said.

Malegaon MLA Mufti Mohammed Ismail said, “Law must take action against people who beat these youths. Till these people aren’t punished these things won’t stop, which is why punishing them is necessary.”

For Mubin Shaikh, the case will determine if there is any justice for them. “If there is any justice left in India we will get it but if it is not we won’t get anything,” he said.