In yet another hate-motivated attack against Muslims, a bus carrying several Hajj pilgrims was attacked by a violent Hindutva mob in Kota, Rajasthan on 26 May 2023. The bus carrying hajj pilgrims was en route to Jaipur Airport was stopped and made hostage on the Kota-Bundi Road near Menal Hotel.
According to the victims, the Hindu mob pelted stones on the bus leaving them injured including the bus driver, children and women onboard.
The victims’ claims were substantiated by a video of the incident that surfaced on social media, depicting the horrifying assault.
The bus carrying about 40 pilgrims and their relatives left Kota on the night of 24th May as their flight to Saudi Arabia was scheduled early the next morning.
“Unidentified individuals began following the bus on the Kota-Bundi road and at one point, they overtook it,” Mufti Shamim Ashraf Razvi, President of the Hajj Welfare Society of Kota Cadre, recounted the harrowing ordeal.
“As the bus came to a stop, they stormed inside and launched an attack on the passengers, specifically targeting and abusing women and children.”
Passengers reported being coerced into chanting “Jai Shree Ram” slogans and faced death threats. Some sustained severe injuries and were immediately rushed to a nearby hospital. The Hindutva assailants, who continuously raised slogans, even attempted to set the bus on fire.
Abdul Kalam, one of the passengers who confronted the attackers, was viciously struck on the head with an iron rod, resulting in six stitches.
Recounting the horrifying moments, Kalam told Maktoob, “As I approached the goons to inquire about the matter, they pushed me aside and stormed into the bus.”
He said, “They immediately confirmed that the passengers were Muslims and began assaulting the women and girls. When the women resisted, the assailants subjected them to further abuse and harassment. When other men came to their rescue, we were attacked with batons, iron rods, hose pipes, and various other weapons.”
Another victim Mohammad Fardeen (18) whose left foot is brutally wounded said that the “Hindutva terrorists” didn’t spare anyone, “not even children and women.”
He said, “My 60-year-old grandmother was also on that bus, going for the Hajj, the goons snatched her dupatta, misbehaved with her and looted 30 thousand rupees from her.”
उक्त घटना पर कोटा शहर पुलिस के अधिकारीगण एवं पर्याप्त पुलिस बल मौके पर पहुंचा शांति व्यवस्था कायम की गई, घटना के संबंध में प्राप्त रिपोर्ट पर थाना कुन्हाड़ी पर प्रकरण संख्या 312 एवं 313 दर्ज किया जा कर अब तक 06 व्यक्तियों को गिरफ्तार किया जा चुका है ।अनुसंधान जारी है।— KotaCity Police (@KotaPolice) May 26, 2023
A First Investigation Report (FIR) under several sections of the Indian Penal Code including 341 (Wrongful restraint), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 147 (Rioting), 307(Attempt to murder) and 427 (Causing monetary damage) has also been registered by Kota City Police based on the complaint filed by one Kamil Ahmad (37), an eye witness and the co-passenger on the bus against 7-8 unidentified men.
The copy of the FIR, accessed by Maktoob, also states that at least a group of 25-30 people hijacked the bus, attacked and assaulted the passengers.
The complainant demands stringent action against the assailants and highlights that at least six people sustained severe injuries, while others suffered minor injuries.
Kota City Police on Sunday informed in a tweet that 06 people have been arrested so far in connection to the said incident and that investigation has been initiated.
Multiple calls made by Maktoob to Kunadi police station went unanswered.
“At a time when pilgrims from across the country are embarking on the Hajj journey, such an attack raises serious questions about the state’s law and order situation and the government’s negligence towards a particular community,” Kashif Zuberi, a Jaipur-based lawyer said.
“We will be writing to the state government to demand security for all the pilgrims, it is the state’s responsibility,” he added.
All the pilgrims resumed their journey to Saudi Arabia after the incident.
Meanwhile, All India Majlis e Ittehad ul Muslimeen Chief Asaduddin Owaisi condemned the attack on Hajj Pilgrims and targeted the Congress government in the state of Rajasthan while addressing a public meeting in Nagpur, Maharashtra.