Rajasthan civil society demands independent inquiry into Tonk violence

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By Muslim Mirror News,

leaders of civil society addressing press conference in Jaipur on 16th July 2013
leaders of civil society addressing press conference in Jaipur on 16th July 2013

Jaipur, July 19: Several organizations of civil society in Rajasthan has jointly demanded an independent inquiry into the khaki violence in which two persons were killed inside a mosque in Tonk district of Rajasthan on 12th July. A delegation of the civil society visited the area on 14th July and presented a fact-finding report to the media here on 16th July.

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The joint Press conference was addressed by Engineer Mohd. Saleem, National Secretary, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Prof. M. Hasan, Mr. Sawai Singh, Convener, Sadbhav Manch Rajasthan and Ms. Kavita Shrivastava, General Secretary, PUCL Rajasthan.

The leaders of civil society demanded the government to remove the culprit police and administrative officers and take administrative action against them besides filing criminal cases against them. The role of the District Collector should be investigated in this whole episode, they demanded. They also demanded a compensation of Rs 25 lakh to the family of the deceased Nasir and a government job to a member of his family.

 

Fact-finding Report on Tonk violence

Blood on the floor and wall of the Mosque
Blood on the floor and wall of the Mosque

Tonk (Rajasthan). It was on 11th of July 2013 when Muslims of Tonk City were offering Maghrib Salat (Prayer after sunset) at the Chhawni Jama Masjid, after completing their 2nd fast of the month of Ramazan. A Baraat procession came from the nearby ‘Keer’ Hindu locality playing D.J. in loud voice. They stayed a bit longer in front of the mosque. As the D.J. sound was disturbing the people inside the mosque, some of them came out and requested the Keers not to play the D.J. in front of the mosque. The Keers insisted on playing it and a hot conversation took place which converted into conflict then stone pelting from both sides began. The police came and controlled the situation. The situation was under control but the atmosphere was tense.

Next day, on 12th July 2013, it was Friday, hence the Muslims gathered at the Chhawni Jama Masjid in order to offer special Friday (Juma’) Prayers. Huge Police Force was deployed along with RAC and STF personnel. The Juma’ prayers went peacefully and people came out of the mosque. According to the eye witnesses, all was peaceful and under control and the people were heading towards their homes. All of a sudden, without any provocation, about 150 policemen (including RAC and STF) stormed into the mosque breaking the back door of the adjacent Madrasa and instantaneously fired a number of teargas shells straight on the people offering Namaz in the mosque. One of the shells hit a youth Nasir in his face, who died on the spot and another injured critically. Then the police resorted to ‘lathi charge’ and started beating every one irrespective of his age. An eye witness told that a Muslim police officer, who was praying at the mosque, was also thrashed by the STF. When he managed to run away and entered his nearby house, the STF Jawans followed him and fired a teargas shell into his house through a window, after he shut his doors. They didn’t spare even the Imam of the Jama’ Masjid, who happens to be a respectable figure in the city. About 80 people were injured and two died. The person died other than Nasir could not be recognized, as the police took him away in very serious condition and he didn’t belong to Tonk. The police are silent about that person’s identity and about where he was taken.

Teargas shell inside the Mosque
Teargas shell inside the Mosque

A joint delegation of the Rajasthan Muslim Forum (RMF), Sadbhav Manch Rajasthan (SM Raj.) and Peoples Union For Civil Liberty (PUCL) visited the violence hit Chhawni area of the Tonk City on 14th. The persons comprising the delegation were Engineer Khurshid Husain, State Chief Jamaat-E-Islami Hind, Muhammed Nazimuddeen and Aalam Khan, members RMF, Professor M. Hasan, Chairman IRADA Society, Master Shamsuddeen, Chairman Human Welfare Society, Engineer Rashid Husain and Rajendra Kumbhaj from PUCL, Satish Advocate from Dalit Adhikar Kendra, Sawai Singh, Convener SM Raj. and Mujeeb Azad, Member SM Tonk.

The leaders observed that a sick mentality of hatred towards Muslims is developing amongst the police forces including the special forces like RAC and STF, as some of the victims told the delegation that while brutally thrashing the people inside the mosque, the STF men were shouting “bula tere allah ko” (call your God), “bula tere roze ko” (call your fast), i.e. call them to save you from us. Though, SP Mrs. Parimala told the delegation that the police attacked after stone pelting began from the roof of the mosque, which the delegation found difficult, as there was only one way to reach the roof through the narrow minaret and through which one thin person could pass at a time. The delegation found no signs of passing any one earlier from the staircase, as there were cobwebs on the walls of the minaret which stuck on the clothes of a delegation member who managed to reach to the roof top. Hence, the police attacked without any provocation or may be instigated by the communal elements, who were provoking the Keer community. However the police and administrative officers could not reply that, what was the reason of entering the mosque and taking action there. When asked who was injured by the stones thrown from the mosque, the officers replied that only an ASP was injured, that is strange! The delegation was of the opinion that this was the sheer repetition of the Gopalgarh (Bharatpur) incident where on 14th September 2011, 10 Muslims were gunned down by the police, though the situation could not deteriorate to that extent.

people wounded in police attack in Tonk mosque
people wounded in police attack in Tonk mosque

It is an annoying fact that in a number of incidents of violence, including Sarada (Udaipur), Balesar (Jodhpur), Manohar Thana (Jhalawar) and Soorwal (Sawai Madhopur), no action was taken against the culprit police officers as well as the rioters. Instead, the Muslims were arrested one sided in most of the cases and false charges were framed against them. According to JIH national secretary Er. Mohd. Saleem, had the culprit police officers been punished in earlier incidents, this Tonk incident would not have occured. The SP stated that the STF force became out of control. That is very alarming, if an organized team of trained personnel becomes out of control, they can do a great harm. Such a team should be treated as a criminal gang and be punished accordingly.

The delegation demanded that an independent inquiry be done about the whole incident, the culprit police and administrative officers be removed and administrative action be taken against them, also criminal cases be filed against them. The role of the District Collector be investigated in this whole episode. The deceased Nasir’s family be compensated with Rs. 25 lac and one of his kin be given a government job.

Nevertheless, complete reform of our police is the need of the hour and they must be taught humanity and communal harmony. 

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