Attacked by people from the majority community on at least two occasions in the last three days over alleged elopement of a Hindu woman and a Muslim man, at least nine Muslim families have left their village in Sambhal district of western UP. They fled to undisclosed destinations, the village head said. The people who left are relatives of the man who eloped with the Hindu woman and were allegedly attacked and beaten up by residents of their village, Nandrauli. The assailants, allegedly from the majority community, torched the property and household belongings of these families, the police said.
On Friday, village pradhan Pramod Kumar said, “Nine Muslim families left the village Thursday morning. They feared further attack. After learning about it, senior senior police officers, including Meerut Range DIG Onkar Singh, reached the village Thursday and held a meeting with seniors in the village.” Sambhal’s Superintendent of Police Ravi Shankar Chhabi said, “We have learnt that four or five families have left the village and gone to relatives’ homes.”
Two FIRs have been lodged at Gunnaur police station in the area and seven accused have been arrested so far. Senior police officials are camping in the village and trying to pacify the groups. Nandrauli has 80 per cent Hindu population.
Station House Officer of Gunnaur, Raj Pal Singh, said that on May 9, a local businessman named Ram Niwas lodged an FIR against his neighbour, Babloo, 22, and his friend Musharraf for allegedly abducting his daughter — Arti, 20 — from his house the night before. Babloo, a Muslim man, runs a dairy in the village.
Musharraf was arrested on Thursday but the police could not get any information from him about the duo on the run. According to SHO Singh, on the afternoon of May 9 a mob attacked five houses of people from the minority community, including that of Babloo. They threw stones and broke all furniture lying outside, he said. An FIR was lodged against 25 unidentified rioters.
While a police team was deployed after the attack, people from the Muslim community alleged that a group of armed men again targeted 15 houses the following night in presence of the police officials. “The men barged in and vandalised the homes. They later set the belongings on fire. They also beat up the occupants,” alleged Ahmed Ali, a neighbour of Babloo.
Ali spoke with The Indian Express over telephone — he had left the village with his family “fearing further attack”, and refused to divulge his location. The SHO claimed that policemen deployed in the village tried to intervene but were outnumbered by the mob. Additional force was sent in, and they brought the situation under control after a round of lathi-charge, the police said.