Close on the heels of a string of attacks on Hindus by Muslims in Jharkhand, a shocking incident of armed Muslim youths barging into a school on the outskirts of state capital Ranchi and threatening to abduct Hindu girls studying there has come to light.
According to reports, on 5 September, as students, teachers and staff of the Project High School at Sadma in Oramanjhi block of Ranchi district were celebrating Teachers’ Day, five Muslim youths barged into the school and threatened to abduct the girls there.
As per reports, the Muslim youths, who hail from the neighbourhood, were unhappy with some of the Hindu girls for spurning their advances. They openly warned the girls and their (the girls’) friends that they would be abducted if they continued to turn down advances by local Muslim boys.
The school authorities reportedly informed the local police, but the latter did not do anything. After the agitated parents of the Hindu girl students threatened to launch an agitation, the police suggested a ‘peace meeting’ between elders of the two communities.
The meeting was held on Saturday (10 September), but the two sides clashed when the Muslim side allegedly termed the Hindu girls as ‘wayward’ in a bid to tarnish their character.
The Hindu parents objected and demanded that the Muslim elders warn and restrain the young boys and men of that community.
The Muslim elders refused to do so and adopted a ‘boys will be boys’ attitude. The Muslim elders even justified the actions of the young Muslim men.
After a couple of Muslim elders reportedly passed snide remarks against Hindus and said it was the “birthright” of Muslims to woo and even forcibly marry Hindu girls, the two sides clashed.
Meanwhile, local BJP leaders got wind of the incident and started enquiring. The clash between the two sides and the attention of the BJP leaders ultimately forced the police to intervene and register complaints against the Muslim youths.
The five young Muslim men have been identified as Firdous Ansari, Suhail Ansari, Muzammil Ansari, Taufik Ansari, and Jameel Ansari. While Suhail Ansari is on the run, the four others have now been arrested.
The five have been charged under various sections of the IPC: 143 (rioting), 448 (house trespass), 452 (house trespass after preparation to hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), 351 (wrongful restraint), 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage modesty of woman), 504 (intentional insult) and 506 (criminal intimidation).
School principal Sebastin Kerketta said that this is not the first time that Muslim youths have made advances toward girl students. A few Muslim youths had been warned in the past, he said.
A few Hindu and tribal girl students had stopped attending the school for a few months in the past after they were threatened by local Muslim youths for spurning their advances.
But the police deny accusations of inaction. Ranchi police chief Kishor Kaushal claimed that the police acted as soon as they received a complaint from the school authorities.
Officer-in-charge of Ormanjhi police station, Rajeev Kumar Singh, said that he got to know of the incident only on Saturday after the meeting between the local Muslims and Hindu parents erupted in clashes.
But locals say that the police acted only because the whole incident threatened to snowball into a communal clash. And also because local BJP leaders had threatened to launch a stir.
State BJP chief Deepak Prakash said that this incident is yet another outcome of the policy of Muslim appeasement by the Hemant Soren government. This appeasement has emboldened many Muslims to attack Hindus and carry out ‘love jihad’, said BJP leaders.
Last month, a schoolgirl died in Dumka after being set afire by a Muslim man whose amorous advances she had rejected.
In June this year, Muslim mobs objecting to a Ram Navami procession attacked a Hanuman Mandir, triggering communal tension in the state.
Earlier this month, a minor tribal girl was raped and murdered, allegedly by a Muslim man in Dumka.
Chief Minister Hemant Soren, whose fate now hangs in balance over an office-for-profit complaint lodged by the BJP, has often been accused of pandering to Muslims and thus emboldening them to carry out attacks on Hindus.
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