By arresting Nuh’s Congress legislator Mamman Khan after bringing two “cow vigilantes’’ to the book in connection with the violence, the ruling BJP-JJP government seems to have made up its mind to deal with such incidents with firm hand, reports Rajesh Moudgil
The July 31 communal clashes in Nuh town and adjoining areas of Haryana caught the state government napping leading to six casualties and massive damage to public and private properties. For, there were immense indications of the possibility of the situation turning ugly ahead of it in view of hatred being spread through social media for several days, and yet it happened.
The venom-filled rants on the social media were galore prior to July 31 violent clashes that erupted between the two communities during a religious procession taken out by Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal after the cow vigilante Monu Manesar, one of the main accused in the infamous case of brutal killing of two Muslim youths cattle traders Nasir and Junaid in Bhiwani town of Haryana, announced to join the said religious procession. This provoked sharp reactions from the members of other communities triggering the said hatred spread on the social media from both sides.
Even though Monu did not take part in the procession, another cow vigilante Bittu Bajrangi allegedly provoked the rival groups which had objected to Monu’s announcement to take part in the procession despite their repeated calls against it to Rajasthan and Haryana police.
The clashes erupted when miscreants pelted stones on the religious procession – Brijmandal Jalabhishek Yatra, and quickly spread to not only in various areas of the Muslim-dominated Nuh district (also popularly called Mewat) but also the nearby Sohna town of Gurugram district bordering Delhi. Result? Six people including two Home Guards, two Bajrang Dal activists and a naib imam were killed over 80 others, mainly police personnel, grievously hurt and dozens of vehicles set on fire, besides massive damage to public and private properties.
Even though Nuh remained under curfew and without mobile internet services for days together, the situation in the area again later became tense with several Hindu outfits holding a “maha panchayat’’ in Palwal and announcing to resume the same procession in the Nuh on August 28.
However the day passed off peacefully, with the government being extra vigilant and again putting heavy police deployment of about 2,000 personnel of Haryana police and 24 companies of paramilitary forces to keep a strict watch, deploying drones, putting check-points at various inter-state as well as intra and inter-district points across the district, besides taking other measures.
The government did not allow the religious procession but remained on alert about the small groups of people including the right-wing leaders as well as priests visiting the Nalhar temple in Nuh with police teams accompanying them so as to allow the event on the last Monday of the holy month of “Shravan’’ (August 28).
Police acts, nabs Bajrangi, Monu
The Haryana police which had registered over 140 FIRs for the said clashes and arrested over 500 accused by August-end, arrested Bittu Bajrangi, a self-proclaimed cow vigilante on August 15 (He was granted bail on August 31). After the arrest he was sent to one-day police remand and 14-day judicial custody. Bajrangi was also arrested earlier on August 1 by Faridabad police over a viral video in which he was seen in saffron attire with a song with threatening lyrics in the background, but was left off on bail.
However, in another significant step, the police nabbed the fugitive Monu Manesar from Gurugram and recovered a pistol and three cartridges from his possession on September 12.
Notably, Monu Manesar, 28, (real name – Mohit Yadav) who was accused of inciting the communal violence in Nuh was also wanted by the Rajasthan police in the case in which charred bodies of two Muslim cattle traders, namely Junaid and Nasir, were found in a burnt vehicle in a Bhiwani area of Haryana on February 16, last.
The two were residents of Ghatmika village of the Bharatpur district of Rajasthan, who were allegedly abducted and burnt to death in Bhiwani district.
Monu was thus handed over to the Rajasthan police the same day evening and has now been shifted to high security Ajmer jail since September 22.
Home Minister blames Congress
Meanwhile, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij had also alleged that the preliminary probe into the July 31 violence in Nuh indicated the role of the opposition Congress party. He went on to allege that wherever violence had taken place in Nuh, Congress MLA Maman Khan had gone there on July 28, 29 and 30. Vij also alleged that many persons were called from Rajasthan for Nuh violence.
MLA Mamman Khan in judicial custody
The Congress MLA Mamman Khan, who is an MLA from Ferozepur Jhirka seat in district Nuh, and who was arrested by Haryana police from Rajasthan on late September 14 night in connection with the July 31 communal violence was first sent to two-day police remand on September 15, subsequent to which the court had extended his police remand for two more days. He was subsequently sent to 14-day judicial custody by a Nuh court on September 19.
His arrest was anticipated as he had failed to appear before the police twice despite police notices asking him to join its probe – on August 31 and September 10 – and also there being no relief to him subsequently by the Punjab and Haryana High Court where he had sought an urgent hearing against his arrest as he claimed, he was being falsely implicated.
Khan was named in different cases and the charges against him included promoting enmity between different groups on religious grounds. Police held that in cases of vandalism and arson that took place, Khan not only had a role in instigating but also conspiring the violence.
However, the state government held he was wanted in a case registered against him and that he was in constant touch with another suspect namely Taufiq who had already been arrested in the case. The police claimed that he was on the spot and not only had a role in instigating but also conspiring the violence, police held. He charges he faces include promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion.