Sunday, May 19, 2024

“Breadwinner, expectant father,” Kin mourns for Muslim man killed in Satara violence

Nurul Hasan Liyaqat Shikalgar, killed in an anti-Muslim violence that broke out in Puseswali Village of Maharashtra’s Satara District on 10 September, was the only child of his parents and the sole breadwinner of the family.

Nurul Hasan is survived by his wife who is seven months pregnant.

Triggered by an objectable social media post, a Hindu mob attacked the mosque in which the 30-year-old civil engineer was offering the late evening prayer. He was among 15 people who were severely injured by the mob that tried to burn down the mosque.

“Nurul was severely injured and had no pulse or heartbeat. He was rushed to Krishna Charitable Trust Hospital in Satara District, where he was declared dead,” Shiraj Shikalgar, Nurul’s maternal uncle, told Maktoob.

Nurul’s 75-year-old father, who teaches Arabic in the local Madarasa, is yet to overcome the grief of burying his son from his own hands. His mother, a retired nurse from a regional healthcare, hasn’t spoken a word since her son’s sad demise.

While the postmortem report remains pending, the medical professionals have conveyed to the family that Nurul’s cause of death was the sustained assault on his head with a heavy object.

After the postmortem, Nurul’s family refused to receive the body until the police registered a complaint. After much protest by villagers and relatives, the police filed an FIR against one Vikram Pawaskar and 27 others associated with Sambhaji Bhide Organisation, a local political outfit. Vikram Pawaskar is the state vice president of BJP Maharashtra.

“Nurul was innocent. A very conventional man who loved his family like anything. He was not at all involved in anything other than his family and job,” Shiraj said. He blamed social media, politicians, and hate speeches.

Two brothers, attacked by the mob along with Nurul, remain on life support. 49-year-old Sameer Baghwaan and his younger brother Sarfaraz Baghwaan were also offering prayers in the Jama Masjid when the Hindu mob attacked the mosque.

Shiraz Baghwan, the third brother, told Maktoob that he was getting ready and making ablution at home to join his brothers at the mosque but before he could step out, he heard that a mob had entered the village and attacked the homes of Muslims.

“I went on the terrace and saw that they were carrying weapons and destroying everything that was coming in their way. They were very furious and violent,” Shiraz Baghwan told Maktoob.

“We latched and locked the main entrance from inside so they couldn’t force open and come inside. I asked the women to hide in the room. I didn’t go to the mosque, because the women and the children in the home would be alone,” he said.

“Both of them have endured multiple injuries and stitches in their head. The Elder brother’s skull is damaged to an extent.”

Sarfaraz is a journalist with a local newspaper and Sameer is a primary school teacher in the village. The family has not filed a police complaint so far as they are still in shock.

“Pre-planned attack”

Locals allege that it was a pre-planned attack and only Muslim shops and properties were vandalised or destroyed. Mubin Baghwan’s mobile shop and bike that was parked at the entrance were set on fire by the aggressive mob but other nearby shops were left untouched.

Mubin,28, has been running a mobile shop in the upper part of the village which is near Patrewali Masjid for the last six years. The shop is at the entrance of his house.

“We all contained ourselves inside the house’s last room. My younger brother was outside the house. We were worried about that and after some time we saw flames coming in from the shop and that’s when we figured that they set my shop on fire”, explained Mubin.

“Somebody called the fire brigade. By the time they arrived, my shop was turned into rubble. If the fire brigade hadn’t come, the fire could have reached our house and we could have lost our lives. Who is answerable to this?” he asked.

“All the nearby shops are fine and as usual because they knew that I am a Muslim and this mobile shop is owned by me. This is my only mistake,” Mubin said. He said he would file a complaint and demand compensation for his loss. So far, police have done Panchnama of his shop and the area affected.

The case of an “objectionable” post

Reports say, the entire communal conflict was triggered by a social media post from accounts of some Muslims which was “objectionable” and “irked the Hindu community”. In retaliation to the posts, the Hindutva mob went on the rampage, attacking houses, vandalising properties and shops belonging to Muslims and setting the mosque on fire.

But locals say it is part of a conspiracy. “This has been happening for a long time now. Some people hack the social media accounts of Muslim boys and post some anti-Hindu content from it to frame the Muslim boys.”

A similar incident happened in August 2023.

On 15 August, the Satara City Police registered an FIR under IPC Section 595A, 153, 504 on a complaint filed by a 14-year-old claiming that his Instagram account (nobixx_70) had been hacked.

In the complaint, accessed by Maktoob, He pointed out that an offensive post (Instagram story) in the name of Shivaji Maharaj was circulated from his account.

The Local Crime Branch (CIU Unit) Satara, on 13 September, informed that the account was hacked by one Amar Arjun Shinde from Koregaon who posted anti-Hindu content from that account due to his rivalry. Shinde, the suspect of the said crime, accepted the crime when he was taken into confidence and questioned by the Crime branch.

Local Muslims suspect same foul play has happened in the case of recent violence. Police investigation is underway.

“Situation under control”

Heavy police deployment and internet suspension continued across Satara on Tuesday and Wednesday keeping in mind the volatile situation of the district. However, the internet is expected to be restored on Wednesday night, as per district administration.

Meanwhile, Satara Police has announced the formation of a community-based media monitoring system. As per officials, a committee in each of the 31 police stations in the district will be constituted which will comprise members of all the communities dedicated to monitoring the content of social media.

Police have released eight people after no evidence was found against them for rioting. 19 people remain in custody as police probe the incident.

“The situation is under control, we are still investigating. As a precautionary measure, police personnel are deployed at every nook and corner and we might restore the internet if the situation remains under control by Wednesday,” District Collector Jitendra Dudi told Maktoob.

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