A 60-year-old Muslim man was allegedly hacked with axes on Wednesday afternoon as sporadic episodes of communal violence at Atali village continued two days after the rioting that left at least 15 people injured.
The injured has been identified by police as Hasan Mohammad. He was allegedly attacked by four people around 2:30pm, police said.
“Hasan, who lives on the outskirts of the village, had taken his animals out to graze. He was attacked with axes that left him bleeding heavily. Police posted in the village intervened just in time, which saved his life,” a senior police officer said.
Subhash Yadav, Commissioner of Police for Faridabad, said, “Hasan has been injured but his condition is stable. He has been admitted in B K Hospital.”
A team from the National Minorities Commission also visited the village on Wednesday.
Police said they had also received reports of cattle feed belonging to the village’s Muslim community being burnt down around the same time the 60-year-old was attacked. Officials said that the matter is being investigated.
The violence in the village, which is in Ballabhgarh tehsil in Faridabad district, on Monday evening started after a festering dispute over the construction of a mosque.
The site has been under dispute for almost five years. During the violence, the mosque — which is adjacent to a temple — was burnt and the village’s Muslim community alleged that their homes were selectively targeted. No arrests have yet been made by police so far.
Meanwhile, Muslims from the village alleged that police released a Jat youth, who they had detained for instigating the communal violence in the village on Monday. “For nearly 48 hours they didn’t do anything. Finally, they detained a Jat youth who had been one of the most violent. But when his family members and others from the village put pressure on police, he was released,” alleged Majid, a resident of Atali village.
After the violence, an exodus followed, with almost all Muslim families in the village fleeing out of fear of more violence. Most of them have been staying at the Ballabhgarh (City) Police Station since then. “The families don’t feel safe going back. Many of their homes have been burnt. We took some of them back on Tuesday evening, but they said that they couldn’t go back home since they their homes are destroyed. They are at the police station right now, while others are staying with their relatives,” the commissioner said.
Yadav added that steps were being taken to ensure that further violence doesn’t break out in the village, including meetings between the two communities with the local administration.
“The root of this violence is the mosque. The civil court had ruled in favour of the mosque being constructed. But the individual who had filed the petition withdrew the case. As a result, the matter is disputed,” he explained.
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