Hindu men in Bihar’s Dharharwa village allegedly attacked Muslims over the use of loudspeakers. At least 5 people have been reportedly injured, including policemen in the violence occurred on 3 March.
The village comes under the Parihar police station located near the Indo-Nepal border of Sitamarhi district.
Locals told Maktoob the root cause of the tensions began when police forcibly removed the loudspeakers used by Hindu groups for the nine-day religious procession called “Navaha Yagya”. Apparently, the loudspeakers used to play hymns and kirtans were operated even after permitted days.
In reaction to the police action, a mob attacked the mosque alleging Muslims of filing police complaints against the Hindu procession.
Tensions escalated during the evening call for prayer. The mob raided the mosque and demanded to stop using loudspeakers for Azan (call for prayer). The mob also attacked the police when they reached out to resolve the matter.
Section 144 is imposed in the village after evening.
“The Dharharwa village has only 2% Muslim population and only 14 houses belonging to Muslims near the mosque,” said a resident who is out of the village due to the fear of further riots.
Irshad Ahamed a resident said, “A large mob of 200 people raising slogans of “Jai Sri Ram (Glory be to Lord Ram)” surrounded the mosque with bamboo sticks in their hands. They set the mosque ablaze, and looted and burnt a few Muslim houses near the Mosque,” said Ahmed.
He continued that the mob also broke into the Mazar (shrine) and vandalized it.
“They entered the Mazar by breaking the door. We found the Quran (holy book) lying on the ground,” said Ahmed in grief.
The mob also looted the poultry farm of Qamaruddin Ansari, which had 16 quintals of chickens.
Ahmed alleged that the incident was pre-planned by BJP MLA Gayatri Devi along with former MLA Ram Naresh Yadav.
“They are suppressing our voice. Nobody highlighted what passed upon us. Even the administration has restricted us to talk on this,” Ahmed added.
The AIMIM district Convenor Nazre Alam also blamed the BJP MLA.
“The police station had permitted them to play loudspeakers for certain days. They were playing it on extra days when the police stopped. It enraged the Hindus and they started questioning Azan on loudspeakers,” said Alam.
He informed Maktoob that the mob attacked the Imam and Muazzin of the Masjid. One person, Haji Saleem, was also attacked. The injured were taken to hospital for treatment.
The police, in a press release, claimed that 45 people have been arrested so far in the case and the situation is normal.
“The mob attacked our officers when we arrived to resolve the ruckus over the loudspeaker. The police SDPO along with two policemen were injured. We are investigating the viral videos related to this matter,” the police informed.
Alam accused that after the incident former BJP MLA Ram Naresh Yadav called a meeting and blamed the Muslim community for police intervention over loudspeakers.
“Now they are accusing the administration of biased action against Hindus. Present BJP MLA Gayatri Devi provoked the mob. The situation could have turned worse. There should be an appeal for peace in such matters,” he added.