Jharkhand’s Ranchi has been in the grip of a communal flare-up since a group of Hindutva extremists made desperate attempts to cause communal mayhem in the city’s Eid market by deciding to take a bike rally to mark Narendra Modi’s four years in government through the busy shopping area.
The tension started on 10 June when a crowd at the jam-packed Eid-bazaar in Hindpiri’s Main Road, got into a fight with a group of BJP supporters, who were holding a bike rally, reported Firstpost. One of the bikes, added the report, also hit a woman, triggering clashes in the area.
The incident, fanned by social media posts and rumours of the death of a cleric, flared up quickly from there on. The area remained communally volatile for almost four hours.
Later that evening, two clerics were attacked as they returned from taraweeh prayers in Nagri. They, Azhar-ul-Islam and Mohammad Imran, were told to chant Jai Shri Ram and were attacked even before they could give any reactions. Mohammad Imran, the victim’s childhood friend and himself an imam in the Delhi mosque, told Indian Express, “When we crossed Daladali Chowk on Ring Road, around 4 km from Agdu, we saw two vehicles — a dark-coloured Scorpio and a white smaller car. We did not make much of it but by the time we reached the petrol pump, barely 500 metres from the Chowk, the white vehicle overtook us and stopped. Four people got off, carrying hockey sticks and rods.”
“Before we could even realise what was happening, or reply, one of them hit Azhar hard on his face with a hockey stick. We fell off the bike. While they started hitting Azhar, I ran away. They chased me for a while but gave up,” Imran added.
Police have made five arrests and hundreds of cops have been deployed in the affected area. Local cops said that the cleric was out of danger now. Officer-in-charge (Nagri) Ram Narayan Singh said, “As per the complaint, the group asked him (Azhar) to chant (a religious slogan). This led to an argument and the subsequent assault. The injured was rushed to hospital. He is out of danger now.” He added, “The allegation that the victim was beaten up after being asked to chant a particular (God’s) name is yet to be substantiated.”
Jharkhand is governed by the BJP, which has been accused of giving a free hand to criminal Hindutva groups, whose armed militants have wreaked havoc by killing Muslims indiscriminately. On Wednesday, a group of Hindutva terrorists killed two Muslim men in broad day light on the suspicion of cattle theft. The men killed by Hindutva terrorists have been identified as 35-year-old Jirafuddin Ansari and 30-year-old Murtaza Miyan, both hailing from Taljhari village in Godda, about 300 km from Ranchi.
On 25 May last month, around 20 Muslim families were forced to flee after they were attacked by some unidentified men around Iftar in Jharkhand.