A week ago in Bihar’s Purnea district, a 25-year-old man was stabbed to death by a group of local goons belonging to a different religious community, causing communal tension in the area.
The key accused who carried out the knife attack, Mohammed Ladla, is a known anti-social element, besides being a drug addict, whose Facebook profile says, “Listen, you RSS, Bajrang Dal, BJP types. We don’t create dal [organisation]. We create terror. That’s why we are called Muslim men [translated by Swarajya].”
See Ladla’s Facebook profile below (it was shared with this correspondent by a family member of the victim):
The incident took place on 13 September. The victim, Sunny Sinha, was attacked with a knife multiple times near his house.
The first information report (FIR) was filed at Khazanchi Hat (commonly called K Hat) subsidiary police station on 14 September, on a complaint by Sunny’s mother Babli Sinha (number 847/2021).
Her statement says that late evening on 13 September, the family was celebrating a Chatthi programme (celebrated on the sixth day of the birth of a child in Bihar) in their house. Around 9.30 pm, Mohammed Ladla, a youth from a street adjoining the Jama Masjid, climbed onto the terrace of the house on the third floor. A group of women were already sitting there, eating and chatting.
Her son Sunny scolded him and ordered him out. Ladla returned with a mob of about half-a-dozen youths, who pelted stones at Babli’s house and hurled abuses at the family members. Sunny began walking in the direction of the mob, with Babli’s nephew Manoj and her other son Anshu behind him.
Finding Sunny alone, Ladla’s brother Mohammed Lal asked everyone what were they waiting for. He said that it was the right time to take revenge.
On cue, Ladla took out a knife from his pocket and stabbed Sunny multiple times, the statement says.
Sunny collapsed on the ground. The family took him to the local Sadar Hospital, but doctors referred him to another hospital. The family rushed Sunny to a private centre, but he died on the way.
Read the FIR statement below:
Based on the statement and the men identified by Babli, the police booked Mohammed Ladla, Mohammed Lal, Mohammed Sahil and Mohammed Shaqib, along with some unidentified youths for murder and other charges.
They include IPC sections 147 (rioting), 148 (armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 341 (wrongful restraint), 323 (causing hurt), 324 (causing hurt by deadly weapons), 307 (attempt to murder), 302 (murder), 504 (insulting) and 506 (criminal intimidation).
Sunny was the eldest of Babli and Arvind Sinha’s three children. He has a sister and brother. All three siblings are graduates. Arvind runs a small grocery store near their house. Sunny was the primary earning member of the family.
Swarajya talked to Sunny’s mother Babli and brother Anshu over the phone. The family blames the police for letting off the accused go without any consequence when they first complained about Ladla’s trespassing into their house.
Babli says that on the fateful night of 13 September, the family was celebrating the birth of her daughter’s baby. The house was full of women. Around 9.30 pm when Sunny spotted Ladla on the terrace, he asked him why he was there.
Ladla told him that Sunny’s younger brother Anshu alias Sumit had invited him. Ladla called Sumit on the terrace and asked him if that was true. Sumit denied even knowing Ladla. A furious Sunny asked him to leave. He also called up police.
“We are Hindus. They are Muslims. We have nothing to do with them. Why would we invite him to our family celebrations?” Babli said.
A cop came but, as per Babli, made light of the matter. He asked Ladla and Sahil — another resident of the street adjoining Jama Masjid who had joined Ladla by then — to leave the terrace and considered the matter over. Ladla left while issuing life threats to Sunny in the presence of the police, as per the family.
Babli further says that Ladla was soon seen with half-a-dozen men near their house, hurling abuses and pelting stones in their direction.
It was her nephew Manoj who reached the mob first, in order to stop them. Ladla allegedly swung his knife which hit straight at Manoj’s chest. He started bleeding. Sunny tried to hold Ladla’s wrist, but the latter aimed straight at Sunny’s chest and stabbed it with multiple knives, says Sumit, who is an eye-witness to the murder.
Babli broke down several times while narrating the incident that has left the family devastated. She also revealed that the family had taken a loan of Rs 15 lakh to renovate the house before her daughter’s wedding last year.
It was Sunny who was repaying the loan in instalments. The family was dependent on him. From his job at Ujjvan Small Finance Bank in Purnea, he would earn about Rs 30,000 a month. However, he often worked overtime for incentives to make this much.
Sunny was unmarried. A few months ago, he had taken a sabbatical from his job at the bank to prepare for a government job.
Babli says that none for the family members knew Ladla and his group even though the men might be familiar with their faces. The area has about 10 per cent Muslims, who, Babli says, live near the Jama Masjid.
Swarajya also talked to Sanjay Singh, station house officer (SHO) of Khazanchi Hat sahayak police station where the case is registered. The officer said that all the four named accused have been arrested. The others involved are being identified, he said.
Sahil and Shaqib were arrested on the night of 14 September itself, and brothers Ladla and Lal were held a week later, he said.
Asked if the accused had a criminal history, Singh said that he has got information that the key accused, Ladla, is into drugs and operates a gang of thieves.
However, no police case is registered against him at K Hat police station.
The local unit of Vishwa Hindu Parishad has been holding protests and agitations over the case, blaming the police for letting the matter escalate, eventually leading to a young man losing his life.
Swati Goel Sharma is a senior editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @swati_gs.
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