Wednesday, April 17, 2024

“Why on street today?”: Muslim journalist in Jharkhand assaulted by Holi celebrating mob

Muhammad Gulzar, a journalist by profession, was traveling on his bike to attend a funeral rite in the wee hours of the Sunday morning, when a gang of 10 to 15 men forcibly smeared mud on him while celebrating Holi. This incident took place in Bishwaskhani, Godda district, Jharkhand.

Gulzar is a 27 year old Journalist who works for Video Volunteer, a social services organization based in Goa.

His bike was stopped midway, after which the men proceeded to pick up mud from a drain nearby and smeared it all over his face and eyes. As he began to leave, the group of men threw a brick at his back, causing minor injuries.

Disturbed by the turn of events, Gulzar told them that he would call the police, yet that seemed to have little effect on the mob. He contacted the Hanwara Police Station, which proved to be of no help as they directed Gulzar to take a different route instead. The villagers and onlookers also didn’t come to his rescue.

“They hurled abuses at me, and asked who told me to travel on the road today,” he said to Maktoob.

The assailants reprimanded him asking why he was out today. “Why are you out on the street today as a Muslim,” the assailants reportedly shouted to the Muslim youth.

After traveling a few miles, Md Gulzar encountered another group playing Holi, where he once again faced similar behavior. Defeated, he had to return home without making it to the funeral. It was at the Basantrai Police Station that an official called Vinod finally offered him some water to clean himself and wash his eyes.

Md Gulzar also told Maktoob about how an auto driver, who was going to the same place as him, faced a violent mob trying to forcibly smear colors, which resulted in the vehicle accidentally overturning as the driver tried to escape. Many women were also present inside the vehicle.

Several similar incidents have surfaced over the past few days throughout the country as everyone is gearing up for Holi. Many are unable to go about their day without being heckled in the streets. 

A recent video from Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh, has also surfaced on X where a group of Hindu men is seen harassing and forcefully throwing water and colors on a Muslim man and two women while chanting “Jai Shree Ram.”

Suhasini Biswas
Suhasini Biswas
Suhasini Biswas has completed her degree in English Journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication and is a regular contributor at Maktoob
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