Bihar: Muslim community anxious after spurt in communal incidents 

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Bihar: Muslim man ‘lynched on suspicion of carrying beef’, three arrested

Observers noted that there is a deliberate attempt to tarnish the image of the Bihar government and instil a sense of insecurity and fear among the Muslim community of the state.

Sami Ahmad |

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PATNA (BIHAR) — Sudden spurt in communal violence incidents has left the Muslim community in Bihar anxious, with many saying that the incidents are “an attempt to provoke the community.”

While February saw one incident in Gaya where a 28-year-old Muslim youth was beaten to death, this month witnessed two incidents of communal violence and a rape incident.

Gaya mob lynching
On February 23, Mohammad Babar, 28, was beaten to death while two others Ruknuddin Ahmad, 32, and Mohammad Sajid, 28, sustained severe injuries in Diha village under the Bela police station of Gaya by a mob on suspicion of being thieves. They belonged to nearby areas. Though police denied any communal angle to this mob lynching, many alleged that they were targeted because of their religion.

Dispute over loudspeaker
On March 5, three policemen and several Muslims were injured in Dharharwa village under Parihar police station in Sitamarhi district over the removal of a loudspeaker from a religious program of Hindus. Hindus alleged that due to the objection from the Muslim community, the volume of the loudspeaker was minimized. The Muslim side said that the action was taken by the police but they were attacked by the anti-social elements at evening prayers.

Muslim man ‘lynched on suspicion of carrying beef’
On March 7, 56-year-old Naseeb Quraishi was lynched by a mob while his nephew Mohammad Firoz managed to flee to Jogia village under Rasulpur police station in Saran district. They were residents of nearby Hasanpur village under GB police station of Siwan district. They were accused of selling beef. Nasib succumbed to his injuries on March 8. Three persons including Sarpanch Sushil Kumar Singh were arrested.

Bihar: Muslim man ‘lynched on suspicion of carrying beef’, three arrested

Begusarai rape
On March 8, two young Muslim girls were subjected to sexual violence on a day when the world was celebrating International Women’s Day in a village under Sahbepur Kamal police station in Begusarai district. One girl was raped while the other’s cheek was brutally bitten by the culprit. The accused Sohan Kumar alias Chhotu Mahto and Bablu have been arrested.

There were minor attacks in other parts of Bihar also. During the Saraswati Puja idol immersion procession in Motihari shops and bikes were damaged.

Kunal, secretary of CPI-ML, while talking to said that these were not astray incidents.“After losing the power in Bihar, the Hindutva forces are desperate to target the Muslim community for creating communal disharmony which helps them to polarize the society.”

Kunal demanded that these incidents should not be treated as acts of a few people and that the role of Hindutva organizations must be investigated.

He said that the MLAs of CPI-ML would raise this issue in the Assembly.

Maulana Rizwan Ahmad Islahi is the state chief of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH). He also expressed concern over the incidents. “Bihar has been very peaceful but during the last few weeks news of mob lynching, rape and other forms of violence targeting Muslims has come as a shock for us,” he said.

“We are of the view that the administration should send these cases for speedy trial and punish the culprits at the earliest”, said Maulana Rizwan who is also the convener of Sarva Dharm Manch in the state.

Maulana Rizwan said that the local administration must ensure that the victims get proper justice and compensation. “We will communicate our deep concerns over those incidents to the state government for their timely intervention,” he added.

Former MLC of chief minister Nitish Kumar’ Janata Dal (United) and president of the prominent Muslim organisation Idara e Shariah Maulana Ghulam Rasool Balyavi, while expressing his deep anguish over the incidents of mob lynching, told, “A law similar to SC/ST act must be brought to stop such violence against the Muslim community.”

Maulana Balyavi said that violence against the Muslim minority community is increasing in the country. “There is an urgent need for a Muslim Safety Act,” he said.

“The state government should investigate the ‘paid bad elements’ of the party (BJP) which was ousted from the government a few months back,” he added.

He alleged that there is a deliberate attempt to tarnish the image of the Bihar government and instil a sense of insecurity and fear among the Muslim community. He also demanded justice and compensation for the victims.

Sami Ahmad is a journalist based in Patna, Bihar. He tweets at @samipkb