TENSION PREVAILED in Bijnor district on Saturday — 20 days after a Hindu girl and a Muslim youth had eloped from Sela village — with members of Hindu Jagaran Manch and locals holding a ‘mahapanchayat’ to protest against the police’s failure to trace the girl. While the villagers have set up a ‘Beti Bachao Sangarsh Samiti’ to pursue the matter, the girl’s father and uncle are set to go on a hunger strike from Sunday.
On June 8, Dalveer Singh, a Jat residing in Sela village, had lodged a complaint with Shivlakala police station, alleging that his neighbour Ishkam alias Gotiya (20) had abducted his daughter Nikita (19) when she had gone to her aunt’s residence at Noorpur village on June 5. On the basis of the complaint, an FIR was lodged under sections 363 (punishment for kidnapping ), 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage, etc.) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC against Gotiya.
Following this, Gotiya’s brother Nazim and brother-in-law Nafees were arrested for allegedly helping him to abduct Nikita — a final-year graduate student. Since registration of the FIR, heavy police force has been deployed at Sela to avoid any untoward incident. On June 12, villagers and members of Hindu Jagran Manch — an RSS offshoot — had staged a protest outside the police station, demanding that Nikita be traced. On Saturday, the mahapanchayat was held at the neighbouring Seh village. It was attended by people from around 30 villages and Hindu Jagran Manch members under the banner of Beti Bachao Sangarsh Samiti, claimed samiti president Mangal Singh.
“Over 1,000 people from 30 villages, including members of the Hindu Jagran Manch, were present at the mahapanchayat,” he said. “It was decided in the mahapanchayat that I, along with my elder brother Baran Singh, would sit on a hunger strike outside the Shivlakala police station from tomorrow till my daughter is recovered,” said Dalveer, a farmer. Hindu Jagran Manch Prant general secretary Jitendra Bais said: “It has also been decided in the mahapanchayat that five members of the Samiti would sit along with the girl’s father and uncle on the first day of hunger strike.” The ‘mahapanchayat’, which started in the afternoon in the presence of heavy police force, ended after two hours.
“People from around 25 nearby villages attended the mahapanchayat, which ended peacefully,” said Shivlakalan police Station Officer Suman Kumar. “We are in touch with the girl’s family and members of Beti Bachao Sangarsh Samiti… we are trying to convince them to cancel their hunger strike,” Bijnor Additional Superintendent of Police Raj Dhari Chaurasia said. DIG Range (Moradabad) Onkar Singh added: “Police teams are on the job to trace the girl… they have so far travelled to Ahmedabad, Jammu and Kashmir, Saharanpur and other places… but the girl and the youth are yet to be traced.” Investigating officer of the case, Sub-Inspector Dharmendra Pawar, said: “During investigation, police have found that Gotiya’s brothers Nazim and Naseer and brother-in-law Nafees had helped him in the alleged abduction. We had arrested Nafees and Nazim on June 15.” Police said while Sela has a population of around 60 per cent Muslims, over 50 per cent of Hindus reside in Seh.