know the rioters
On June 24, when the news of riots in Asthan village in Pratapgarh district of Uttar Pradesh broke out, the Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Hind Uttar Pradesh (East) Maulana Waliullah Saeedi Falahi telephoned all his contacts to get an insight of the incident and immediately sent Mr. Arif Ilyas Alwi, Nazim-e-Ilaqa, Allahabad, along with some others to the affected area. He was sent with clear directions to start the relief work with whatever wherewithal at disposal and to make the situation better after meeting the officials.
On June 24 no one was allowed to enter the affected area; however a day later i.e. June 25, a delegation of JIH visited the area. The delegation was headed by Mr. Alwi and other members of the delegation included Mr. Mohammad Ahmed (Allahabad), Mr. Hameedullah (Allahabad), Mr. Amir Usmani (Allahabad), Mr. Manzoor Ahmed (LalGopalganj), Dr. Kifayatullah (Pratapgarh), Mr. Iqbal (Pratapgarh), Mr. Shafeeq Ahmed (Pratapgarh), Mr. Abdul Jabbar (Pratapgarh), Master Nazeer Ahmed (Pratapgarh), and Master Waseem Ahmed (Pratapgarh).
Following is the gist of the report prepared by the delegation:
The incident happened at Asthan village in Pratapgarh district. There are 60 houses of Muslims, out of which 49 have been burnt down along with a mosque and a grave. The main cause of the incident is the grudge Ex-Pradhan Patel and Kotedar Awadhesh Singh Kushwaha held for the newly elected Muslim Pradhan (Reshma, wife of Nizamuddin is the current Pradhan from women’s seat). There is a significant number of Pasis in the village and the population of Pandits in the village is also considerable. The Pandits got these riots flared up with the help of Pasis.
The riots happened because of the news of gang-rape and murder of a Pasi girl by Muslim boys. However Muslims claim that the allegation needs to be investigated and if Muslim boys are found behind it, they themselves will hand the boys over to them. The girl’s mother said whatever happened was wrong.
Though no one died in the incident, 49 houses belonging to the Muslims were burnt and livestock and other items were destroyed. One Muslim had a strong walled house in which all the Muslims took refuge. The rioters tried to burn that house as well, but could not succeed.
The Muslim villages in the vicinity, particularly Barai and Kunda, helped the victims with food and other daily needs. Barai is 28 kilometres from Asthan, hence the problem of transporting food, three times a day, compelled the Muslims of Asthan to shift in a madrasa in Barai. Right now the whole village is staying in the madrasa and the nearby Muslim villages are providing them with every kind of help.
The delegation met with the victims and took their contact numbers. The people have said that as of now they do not need food items, however when they return to their village they would require utensils, sleep mattresses, etc.; however at the moment people are unwilling to go back to their village.
Khursheed Ahmed, Pradhan Barai and Fayyaz Ahmed, brother-in-law of Pradhan of Asthan cooperated with the delegation and provided a lot of information. They said food and clothes have come in plenty and are still coming.
Among the national and social organisations, people of Jamiat-e-Ulema Hind visited them. MLA Raja Bhaiyya went to meet the victims and pressed people to return to Asthan; however the people refused and asked for CBI enquiry of the incident and also demanded punishment for those involved. Mr. Shalendra, MP Samajwadi Party also met with the victims, however, apart from them none from the government nor any other delegation visited the victims.
The victims said they know who are behind this atrocious act of violence. They even named the following persons responsible for the riots: Awdhesh Singh Kushwaha, Kotedar; Babboo Pandey alias Abhinash, Rakesh Pandey, Dharmendra Singh, Radhey Shyam Pandey, Manu Lal Pandey, Krishan Kumar Pandey, Anil Pandey, Dileep Pandey, Nitin Pandey, and Lalji Pandey.
The delegation expressed their full sympathy to the victims and listened to them with attentive ears and exchanged telephone numbers. The delegation made sure to the people that JIH is standing along with them and if they need anything they can call on the given numbers and inshaAllah they would go and deliver the needful.
Following are the tasks ahead:
People of Asthan village should be taken back to their homes and help should be provided in their rehabilitation.
Pressure should be put on the government to come up with a fair compensation, along with schemes for their rehabilitation.
One delegation should meet the Chief Minister to inform him about the gravity of the situation and the deplorable conditions of Muslims, and draw his attention toward the criminal negligence of the government (in preventing the incident). The delegation should also demand punishments for those involved and assurance that such riots would not take place again and due protection should be provided for the people.