THE GROUND REPORT
On Monday, communal tension gripped a nondescript village of Atali in Haryana’s Faridabad city. This incident went largely unreported with just handful of Urdu papers providing coverage in their Tuesday edition.
However, full details of what had happened in this village emerged only on Wednesday when a leading English daily carried this as a top story.
Given the massive editorial value attacked to this story, Janta Ka Reporter too decided to travel to Atali to dig deeper and find the truth.
Police told us that the rioters belonging to one community had objected to the construction of a mosque before setting their houses on fire and destroying the properties belonging to the other community.
Here’s a special report on what transpired on Monday night and how the rioters left a trail of destruction across the village. Victims are still demanding justice and refusing to leave the compound of Ballabhgarh police station in Faridabad, where they’ve been camping since Monday night.
Police’s role has come under huge criticism with locals accusing them of inaction and apathy.
The victims of the recent riot in Haryana have accused the local police of colluding with the right wing elements belonging to other communities. speaking to Janta Ka Reporter, in a makeshift camp erected inside the compound of Ballabhgarh police station in Faridabad, these victims said that they were still unable to return back home in their village Atali.
Mohammad Khalid Qureshi a local whose house was also burnt in Monday’s violence said,
“They (rioters) came, burnt everything that we had and the local SHO looked the other way. Half an hour before the riot began we were surprised to see the SHO leave the village. He could easily see a mob of 300 people waiting to attack us and yet he didn’t provide us protection.”
These victims have been camping inside the Ballabhgarh police station demanding the action against the culprits and compensation for the loss of their property.
WHAT HAPPENED on MONDAY?
Violence broke out in Atali village in Ballabhgarh on Monday evening over a mosque construction site under dispute, as suggested by reports.
As houses were set on fire and stones were pelted in the area, the communal tension built up leading the Muslims of area to desert their homes and flee for their safety. According to a report in The Indian Express, the mosque under construction is surrounded by 20 houses, 17 of which belong to Muslims.
Police said that the village had been witnessing communal tension since the beginning of May, when the construction began.
The Muslim community of the area has alleged that the violence was planned and that the police’s delayed action was deliberate. The attacks began at 5 pm and the police’s arrival has been reported to be at 6 pm. The police said that immediate actions were taken and all the injured people were sent to a local hospital in a civil bus.
“We had just begun praying when the attacks started. They came in groups of 10 and attacked each house. Bricks and gas cylinders were thrown hurled inside the houses. They attacked us with baseball bats and sticks. We tried to escape by locking ourselves inside our homes,” a villager told the paper.
Bhupinder Singh, DCP (Faridabad) said, “We have lodged an FIR under sections pertaining to rioting. We are investigating the matter. Additional forces have been deployed in the village to prevent further violence. We haven’t made any arrest yet, but will do so soon.”