Roorkee violence: As some villagers leave, police say people ‘don’t want to file cases’

Roorkee violence: As some villagers leave, police say people ‘don’t want to file cases’

India News


Five days after violence swept this village, 22 km from Roorkee in Uttarakhand, on the night of April 16 during a Hanuman Jayanti procession, there are charred remains of vehicles by the roadside, police presence at every nook and corner, tension, and talk of people leaving.

The residents, 2,800 in all — approximately 1,000 of them Muslims, and an equal number Sainis, an OBC community – say they have never witnessed violence on such a scale.

Among those who has left the village for now is Mohammad Abid, 28, whose e-rickshaw was set on fire, along with a car owned by his elder brother and two motorcycles belonging to the family. Having left with his family of eight last week, Abid, who claims to have been assaulted by a mob, said there was little left for him in Dada Jalalpur.

An official of the local mosque committee said around 400-500 members of the minority community had left. Police, who have arrested 14 people for the violence, all Muslims, deny this. DIG Garhwal (Range) Karan Singh Nagnyal said only those wanted in connection with the case had fled. The others named in the FIR not arrested yet are also Muslims.

A resident said there was an altercation over the loud songs played during the procession, setting off the violence, in which both sides were injured. (Express photo)

“A mob broke into our house and vandalised it. We were beaten up, and somehow managed to escape. Now we are scared and have fled, leaving everything behind,” Abid said, adding that he was still paying EMI for the e-rickshaw that was destroyed.

Senior officers at the Bhagwanpur Police Station said the violence erupted as the Hanuman Jayanti procession was passing through a Muslim area and continued for about 30 minutes before it was brought under control. In the wee hours of the night, there was fresh stone-pelting and incidents of arson.

The two communities blame each other for how the violence started, with the Hindu side saying there was stone-pelting from the mosque and the Muslims talking of abusive and objectionable songs played during the Hanuman Jayanti procession.

A resident, Sachin Kumar, 45, said there was an altercation over the loud songs played during the procession, setting off the violence, in which both sides were injured. Muslim homes and vehicles were targeted in the arson later at night, he said.

A local general store owner, who identified himself as Kallu, said some announcements from the mosque further exacerbated the situation.

The mosque’s caretaker, Mohammad Ziyaul, said they only made an announcement after the second round of violence. “I also want to add that the stone-pelting was not unprovoked,” said the 60-year-old. “The DJ in the procession was playing offensive songs. When some Muslim youths requested them to stop, they refused. In response, some youths chanted slogans. That caused an altercation.”

Bhagwanpur Police Station SHO P D Bhatt said: “Around 10-12 more people will be arrested, including six to seven of those named in the FIR.”

On the cases registered, DIG Nagnyal said those whose vehicles had been damaged had “refused to file a complaint”. “We reached out to them, and asked if they wanted to get a complaint registered. They refused and said they do not want any action,” the DIG said.

Abid refuted this, saying police had not taken cognisance of his written complaint.

The DIG also said the situation was now normal. “We considered imposing Section 144 of the CrPC (prohibitory orders). However, after assessing the situation and meeting all parties concerned, we did not find a need. The police force, including a PAC company, is there just as a precautionary measure.”





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