Hindus say local Muslims opposed the decorations for Mahashivratri, attacked with stones and sticks

    On Wednesday (February 15, 2023) in Jharkhand’s Palamu district, devotees who were installing decorative Toran Dwar or welcome archways for Mahashivaratri celebrations were pelted with stones and set on fire. About 1 dozen people, including police officers, were injured during this altercation. The incident took place in the Panki Bazar area close to a mosque.

    A heavy police force has been deployed in the area due to the heightened tension. In addition, Section 144 has been imposed in the area, and the internet has been shut down. According to the police, the situation is currently under control.

    Local Hindus were building welcome gates at Bhagat Singh Chowk for Mahashivratri to be celebrated on February 18. The people of the Muslim community there opposed the construction of this gate, as per reports. At first, there was an argument between the two sides, which later turned into a clash and stone-pelting. On seeing this, people from both sides came to fight. An additional police force has also been deployed to control the situation.

    OpIndia spoke to the local people to find out the details of the matter.  

    ‘They gather large crowds for small events but cause a ruckus over our Mahashivratri’

    OpIndia spoke to Kamlesh Singh, a social worker from Panki Bazar, about the incident. According to Kamlesh Singh, organizing Mahashivratri is not a new thing and is organized every year.

    “There is a large mosque named Jama Masjid at the square where this commotion took place,” said Kamlesh Singh.  “The entire area is surrounded when there is a modest Muslim gathering, but during Mahashivaratri, the Muslims cannot stand even a small archway,” he added.

    Meanwhile, Panki resident and BJP leader Manjulata Dubey claimed that the mosque regularly interrupted the religious programmes of the Hindu community. Manjulata adds that the Shiva procession passes from the area where the archway was being erected and heads to the Lord Shiva shrine on a nearby mountain.

    ‘Police should investigate Mosque Committee head Abul Hasan’s role in the violence’

    According to Kamlesh Singh, Abul Hasan serves as the chairman of the committee that oversees the Jama Masjid, where the controversy originated. According to Kamlesh, Hasan Ansari, Anwar Alam, Mehboob Ansari, Shahid Ansari, and Bablu Ansari are among Abul Hasan’s key associates. 

    Kamlesh added there have been frequent conflicts in and around the market. However, when questioned about their role in the recent violent clashes, Kamlesh Singh responded that the administration should look into it.

    The Muslim side deliberately caused the ruckus

    Manjulata and Kamlesh Singh both claimed that the Muslims started the dispute. They informed OpIndia that some members of the Muslim community had initially come to stop the Hindus from peacefully installing the archway. Following this, the Muslims broke the decorative Toran Dwar.

    OpIndia was told that when the Hindu community objected to this behaviour, they were not only pelted with stones but were also attacked with sticks and other sharp weapons.  The attackers also hurled petrol bombs at the Hindus.

    When the violence erupted, it was time for the students to leave for school, claims Kamlesh Singh, a social worker from Panki. Many children were left stranded on the road due to the violence. Kamlesh adds that there might have been severe harm if the police had not arrived and controlled of the situation.

    The mosque was the base of the attack on Hindus

    OpIndia was told by Manjulata and Kamlesh Singh that the mosque served as the attack’s centre. They said that the attackers came out from the same mosque. Manjulata claims that there are some shops located beneath the mosque owned by Muslims, and certain individuals there often attempt to cause disputes every day.

    Kamlesh Singh, however, asserted that Hindus were being attacked with stones and petrol bombs from the mosque’s rooftop. “It was neither a Friday (Jummah) nor there is such a large Muslim population,” Kamlesh Singh remarked. 

    Kamlesh raised the question that “where did such a crowd of attackers come from because neither a prayer nor a programme was scheduled at the time of the incident? He said it was a well-planned attack.

    Conspiracy to falsely implicate Hindus

    According to Kamlesh Singh, individuals who attacked Hindus vandalized their own shops and some of their own vehicles as part of their plan. Kamlesh Singh detailed it was a part of the conspiracy hatched by the Muslim assailants to implicate Hindus in order to gain the public’s sympathy.

    Masjid Chowk is now being called as Shaheed Chowk

    Manjulata also called out Hemant Soren’s government, claiming that the local people are suffering as a result of his appeasement politics. Manjulata claims that although the Hindu population identifies the crossing as Shaheed Chowk, some Muslims are trying to rename it Masjid Chowk deliberately. The BJP leader also said that a statue of martyr Bhagat Singh will soon be installed there.

    Hindus assisted in the construction of the mosque

    According to Kamlesh Singh and Manjulata, the mosque is not very old. Kamlesh Singh said that the mosque was constructed with the aid of Hindus, and the area where it is now located is a market dominated by Hindu shopkeepers. Manjulata, on the other hand, asserts that if the investigation is carried out properly, it will be found that some part of the mosque is built on encroached land.

    Objection to Tricolour and patriotic songs on August 15

    Manjulata mentioned that she had once, on August 14, been detained by the police at Masjid Chowk only for marking the location for hoisting the Tricolor there. She, however, was later released. It is also asserted that Manjulata was stopped from singing a patriotic song at the square on another Independence day by two Muslims.

    This is a trial of Ghazwa-e-Hind

    The occurrence in Panki Bazar, according to Kamlesh Singh, was a trial for ‘Ghazwa-e-Hind’. He said that the Islamic fundamentalists are weighing their strengths across the country.

    It is notable that Ghazwa-e-Hind is an Islamic mission and prophetic concept that seeks to destroy India and bring it under the Islamic caliphate.

    ‘Hemant Soren government failed to protect Hindus’

    Sunil Singh, a local BJP MP, was contacted by OpIndia to talk about the matter. Sunil Singh said that after talking to the Superintendent of Police, he has clearly stated that the police should not take unilateral action in this incident. MP Sunil Singh accused the Hemant government of appeasement and claimed that he and his government are unable to provide security during special occasions like Mahashivaratri.

    The administration says the situation is under control

    The situation has been deemed under control by the Palamu administration. DC Palamu has urged people not to spread any kind of misinformation on social media while providing information about the implementation of Section 144 in the region affected by violence.

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