Six Muslim men suffered grievous injuries as a marauding Hindutva mob armed with sticks and rods attacked them in the presence of the police. Following the brutal attack on Saturday night in a village of Kolar district, Karnataka Police detained five people.
The police filed three cases at Koral station – two against Hindu men accused of attacking Muslims and one against a Muslim man – to ascertain the sequence of events in the light of the allegations made by the two sides.
Five of the injured were undergoing treatment at Government SNR Hospital till writing of the report on Monday.
The incident occurred on Saturday when a Muslim family, including three women and two men, was travelling in a car after performing evening prayers at the dargah (mausoleum) of a sufi saint, Hazrath Khwaja Usman Sha Vali , on a hillock. They were allegedly accosted by some goons near village Terahalli.
According to Zubair, an eye witness, the Hindu men hurled abuses at the family using loaded with religious slurs against the Muslim community. “When eventually they (the goons) forcibly stopped the car, Zubair recounted, “I intervened asking them the reason for harassing the family.”
Even as As Zubair was interacting with the goons, they started attacking Liyakhat, the driver of the car, with some more men joining them. “However, the family somehow managed to escape and reached the village where they informed their relatives and members of the community and registered a complaint with the police.
After the incident, locals said, the police along with two Muslim men visited the spot to identify the assailants. But as soon as they reached the site the alleged attackers fled the spot retreating into the woods.
“We followed the policeman into the woods in hot pursuit. It was dense forest. As we were looking for the culprits some men came forward asking as to what we were doing in their area,” said Tajamul who was part of the raiding team to assist the police.
Recounting the incident with graphical details, he said: “The next moment, there was a huge crowd of men and women equipped with sticks and rods right in front of us while we were six in all. They attacked us without uttering a word. As I watched one of my colleagues, Feroz, falling to the ground after taking a hit from the crowd, I was hit in the head by a rod. Soon after I started fainting as my head was bleeding profusely.”
However, he could be able to run away from the spot and eventually join the police party waiting for them along with the other men. “They still didn’t leave us and kept attacking us in the presence of the police team daring them to come forward if they had the guts to do so,” Tajamul said.
“I tried to fight back, but couldn’t as they pounced on me with full might and pinned me down to the ground. Thankfully some good Samaritans pulled me to safety as I was still bleeding.”
Visuals surfaced on the social media show a gash on Tajamul’s forehead and his face covered in blood. Another victim, identified as Anwar, has a deep wound on the back of his head.
As the news of the assault spread in the area, dozens of Muslim youths rushed to the hospital and held a protest demonstration. In response, the police allegedly resorted to lathicharge. But timely intervention of the community leaders saved the situation as the youths agreed to return home.
Jaffar Sadiq, head of the Muslim community in the village, demanded punitive action against the assailants. The three FIRs have been filed under IPC sections namely for rioting, for assault, and for use of criminal force against women.
From the Muslim side, the police arrested Liyakath and his brother Mudasir after summoning them for spot inspection.
Sadiq claimed the police are under pressure from the BJP government citing the weaker sections of the IPC under which the cases have been filed against the Hindu attackers. “They deliberately dropped the attempt-to-murder charge against the accused,” said Sadiq.
The attack, he said was part of the series of hate crimes against Muslims in the area with the Hindutva groups having a free run under the incumbent BJP dispensation.
Meanwhile, a delegation of Muslim leaders is planning to meet superintendent of police, Kolar to demand arrest of all those involved in the attack.