Gujarat lab Comes to U.P.

Six hours of Gujarat in U.P. village

The Milli Gazette

30 July 2007

Dhanni Deeh/Bhinga (Eastern UP): Gujarat 2002 visited this small village of Sain (Muslim) community 10 July 2007. A week after the fateful day the community is still stunned and unable to resume their normal lives or even to properly speak to strangers. They still find it difficult to believe that what they went through on that fateful Monday could happen to anyone in this land. That kind of savagery and that too from their next door neighbours of Dharmantapur village which is situated barely some 2 and a half kilometers away.

some mass rape victims at is first Hindutva lab in Uttar pradesh

Dhanni Deeh is a village under Sirsia police station on the Bhinga-Tulsipur road, in the newly created district of Shravasti in eastern UP some 65 kilometers from the earlier district headquarters of Bahraich and 22 kilometers from Bhinga, the new district headquarters. But this village is much more remote than what these statistical details show. Here the daily newspaper reaches in the afternoon. This reporter reached the village around mid-day carrying copies of that day’s newspapers. Residents were surprised to find the newspaper so early in the morning. Though a road passes at a distance of 3 kms from the village, it is not easy to reach it and impossible to leave it after sunset. The village is divided on communal lines. About 45 Muslim families live here on one side of the road while about 75 Hindu families live on the other side. Relations between the two communities are normally cordial. Hindus own most of the agricultural land and also have jobs while Muslims barely have around 75 bighas of land among them which is not enough for a living. Hence most males go to Mumbai to work as labourers. Muslims do not believe in educating their children who loiter around while the village seems to be populated by women alone with barely a dozen adult males. There is a mosque in the village but there was no sign that it was in formal use.

Krishna Narayan Dwivedi The trouble started on 7 July 2007. Saleem, son of Abdur Rahman “Chunnu”, aged about 24 years, eloped with Vandana Dwivedi, aged about 18-20 years. Vandana is the elder daughter of the former pradhan (village headman) Krishna Narayan Dwivedi of the nearby village of Dharmantapur.

On receiving the threats on 8 July some people of the Sain community, including Salim’s family, left the village same day. Pandit community people had come to the boy’s house late on on 8 July and threatened of “dire consequences” for all the villagers if the girl was not returned.

According to a villager, who requested anonymity, on the 9 July the girl’s father and uncle accompanied by two policemen and other supporters came to their locality around 4 pm, and asked about his daughter’s whereabouts and demanded that she be returned “peacefully”. According to this source, one of the persons (identified as Ghanshyam Pathak) accompanying them threatened of “dire consequences” and said that “no one’s person or property will be safe”. As the boy’s family had already left, the policemen searched for the girl and the boy in the neighbours’ houses. Flanked by the policemen, Ghanshyam Pathak repeated his threat everywhere he went. That day some more persons of the Sain community asked their womenfolk to go elsewhere.

Same day (9 July) the police arrested four persons who were present in the village, namely Moinuddin son of Basharat Ali, 20 years, Ishmir son of Jabbar, 24 years, Abdur Rahman son of Abid Ali, 50 years, and Mubashir son of Liyaqat Ali, 23 years. They also seized one mobile set of Samiullah and a TATA Walky telephone of Tahir Maulana, a teacher who teaches in another village.This seems to be part of the already hatched plan so that no SOS or news goes out of the village when it is attacked next morning.

Interior of a ransacked house

Moinuddin, who was arrested on the 9th July, told MG, that he saw at least 13 Muslims (four from his village, others from neighbouring villages) in the police lock-up, arrested for their alleged role in the case. He could remember only four other names: Latif, Putau and Baur of Simrehna village under Sirsia police station, Lallu and Nannhe of Parka Bansaha Naya Mauza village. They were released on 13 July and the telephone sets were also returned that same day.
On 10 July, at about 8:30 am, members and supporters of Pandit (Brahmin) community began gathering at the Peepal tree near Dharmantapur village, allegedly at the behest of Ashok Mishra, younger brother of a minister in the UP government. People were brought there in tractor trolleys from other villages. Seeing this, some members of the Sain community tried to escape but they were forcibly returned to their village from Dera Bhoji, a neigbhouring village where some people of the Pandit community had gathered. Dhanni Deeh has only two exit routes and one of them passes through Dharmantapur. “This gathering of about 400 to 500 people had taken our senses away,” said Samiullah with tears in his eyes. “We were quite helpless. With only a few males left with us we could only hide ourselves,” he said adding that “We were apprehensive because of an earlier incident which took place some time back at Semrahna village where Muslims were beaten up and women raped en masse in similar fashion.”

When queried by this reporter as to why the threat of a single person, however powerful, made the community run away instead of resisting and why did some villagers stay in the village, Tasweer Ali, son of Azmat Ali, 33 years, replied that some people did not take the threat for real until it really happened.


Fatima and Sadrunissa showing their injuries


By around 9:30 am, more people of Pandit community and their supporters had gathered. Now they started to close in on the village. The Sains could not think of anything except to hide in their homes. The crowd was shouting for revenge. They first surrounded the Sains’ houses before starting their attack. The crowd first targeted Saleem’s house before moving to attack his neibours. Their doors were forced open, at times snatched away, belongings were looted and cooked or uncooked food was destroyed. Men of all ages were beaten severely with batons. Even the 80-year old Kallu was not spared. “I could not move freely so I had decided to stay in the village,” he said adding in choked voice that he “begged for mercy but they were raining lathis (batons)”.

Same was the treatment for all males who could not run away. They were told, “today you have nowhere to go.” None of the Hindu villagers of Dhanni Deeh, who number around 100, tried to help the Sains in this hour of trouble. Instead, some of them, identified to this reporter by their names, were part of the savage crowd. After this session of beating and destroying property, the foretold “consequences” began to unfold at around 10 am. Now the crowd started to beat the womenfolk in the same manner. They were asked to strip naked. They pleaded for mercy but no one was ready to listen. Some women escaped to the fields but found the enemy everywhere as the whole village and its agricultural fields were surrounded by the crowd. Women who asked for help were instead caught, stripped and beaten black and blue before being dragged and raped in the open and left to run and again caught and raped by another group at another corner of the village. The whole crowd was playing cat and mouse with naked women crying and running here and there seeking help. “We had nowhere to go that day. We asked each and every person we met to help us but none came forward,” said Khairunnisa, wife of Moinuddin, 21 years. Fatima, wife of Abid Husain, 60 years, told MG: “We were raped because one of our boys had eloped with Barkau’s daughter. The culprit must be punished. Hamen saza kyun.. ham ne kya kiya hai jo hamari izzat looti gaee (Why were we punished? Why were we dishonoured?).”

“We were not on talking terms with Saleem’s family because he was very much friendly with people of the other community,” said Sadrunnisa’s husband Samiullah. Two women, aged around 50 years (Sadrunnisa, wife of Shabbir Ali and Fatima, wife of Sultan Ali) lifted the shirts to show the signs of injuries on their backs. They even said that they were ready to show the injury marks around their private parts. “We are not ashamed as we have no Izzat (chastity/honour) left”, they said. Each of Sabrunnisa, wife of Samiullah (30 years), Sadrunnisa, wife of Shabbir Ali (50 years), Shakira, wife of late Shahabuddin (38 years), Fatima, wife of Sultan (55 years), Salamunnisa wife of Abdurahman (40 years), Bitana, wife of Muzim (22 years), Khairunnisa, wife of Moinuddin (21 years), Fatima, wife of Abid (60 years), Kitabunnisa, wife of Amir Ali (36 years), Zaitunnisa, wife of Basharat Ali (43 years) and Shafiqunnisa, wife of Imaduddin (23 years) said that she has been raped and that too in the open. Only one woman, Sabrunnisa, told MG that she was raped inside her house. Sabrunnisa and Khairunnisa were still sick when this reporter visited the village even after ten days. Injury marks could still be seen clearly on different parts of their bodies. It is hard to deny anything they are claiming because the marks of beating and injuries were still visible.

The rape and beating session continued for about six hours and came to an end only at around 4:30 pm when the attackers got tired. Police teams which were earlier visiting and searching the village twice the day before, were nowhere to be seen or heard. People in the area allege that this savagery was committed at the behest of Ashok Mishra and Ghanshyam Pathak of Sirsia who are said to be the main organisers of the attack. The whole attack was well-planned and systematic. Even the beatings were such that no one received any kind of head injury or fracture or cuts and no one was killed.

Mohammad Aslam RainiThe whole story could have remained secret and buried in the village had it not been for a local Congress leader, Mohammad Aslam Raini of Bhinga. He took the matter to the police and organised press conferences and rallies in front of the local police officers. Even then the First Information Report (FIR) of the “kidnapping” of Vandana was lodged on 11 July 2007 before the FIR of the attack on Dhanni Deeh which was registered next day, that is two days after the attack. Police officials had already made arrests prior to registering any FIR. Until 19-20 July when this correspondent visited Dhanni Deeh and Bhinga, seven arrests were made in the case no 314/07 FIR dated 11 July 07.

During the last 10 days, a number of organisations and government agencies made enquiries. Some have come out in public while the results of some remain secret. The Police department in the area has been reshaped. A few officers have been transferred or suspended. This leads to suspicion that material facts are being suppressed under higher-up pressure. Till date the girl’s recovery has not been made while she makes regular phone calls to his relatives and acquaintances in her village telling them that she has married Saleem.

When this reporter met the father of the girl, “Barkau” (Krishna Narayan Dwivedi), he simply denied that any atrocities had been committed as are being reported in the press. He claimed that the whole affair has been created on false grounds by a “rival” political group headed by Aslam Raini, who, Barkau claimed, “paid money to level heinous charges against us.” He further claimed that no rape had been committed as the medical reports of the victims suggest. Barkau said he does not have any thing to do with politics. His only concern was that the girl returns safely. He further said that this reporter was the first representative of the press seeking his side of the story. Even Mataprasad Pandey has not visited him, said Barkau who alongwith nine persons had been in jail and was given bail on mercy grounds because his mother-in-law expired in the night of 13-14 July and there was no one to perform her last rites. Barkau said that he had met the father of the boy and had asked him to seek for his daughter’s safe return, considering Barkau’s reputation and previous relationship and good behaviour towards Chunnu’s family members. Barkau also admitted that the boy (Saleem) had been a regular visitor to his house and that he often offered his services at Barkau’s place as a tractor driver. The boy often accompanied the girl to the school. Barkau may not be involved in the actual attack but the whole story suggests that he certainly was involved in the planning, and that goons took advantage to beat, loot and rape Sain Muslim community members. All Hindus in the area met by this reporter denied that any attack or rapes have taken place. Only one person this correspondent met outside the village accepted that the attack and rapes took place. He said that he saw a naked woman running away from the attackers. He knew her because he frequently visited the village. The man realised that he had said something he was not supposed to. He quickly turned his face and walked away before any further questions.

“The UP minister and his cohorts are trying to malign me by spreading rumors that I had paid money to the Sain community for making these false accusations. They claim that I had a grudge against the Hindu community because I did not get support from the Pundits of the locality during the last assembly elections and was defeated by the present MLA by only 91 votes,” said Aslam Raini when this reporter visited him in Bhinga. He clarified that he too has been informed that some money has been paid but not on his behalf. It was actually just Rs 500 to a few victims on compassionate grounds by a visiting political leader from Lucknow who met the victims on 17 July. The leader did so when he found that the victims do not have even cooking utensils which were looted during the attack. Aslam Raini too had visited the village on 14 July along with Ms. Rubab Sayyida (MP) and Dr Waqar as part of the Samajwadi Party delegation led by Avdhesh Prasad. He was at the back of the convoy. When Aslam’s car reached Dharmantapur, villagers stopped the vehicle and tried to snatch him out of the car. He at once phoned the police and could return to Sirsia only under police protection.

A women’s team from the Congress Party, led by Ms. Tarany Pandey, visited Dhanni Deeh and Dharmantapur on 17 July and declared that no rape took place. This reporter found out that Ms. Pandey did not care to meet the victims personally. She went only up to the Idgah while her representatives met the victims. It might be that the representatives told her a different story. Had she met the victims personally she could not have denied the atrocities.

On the other hand former Samajwadi leader and ex-minister Beni Prasad Verma met the victims on 17 July and condemned the incident. He also met the family members of the girl and consoled them. Reportedly the police commissioner has submitted a report about this attack.

The tragedy has created ripples in the UP state politics. Various parties are raising the issue inside the state assembly and on other platforms. on 16 July, the incident rocked the assembly for the second day. The ruling BSP ruled out mass rape and claimed that prompt action had already been taken, while Samajwadi party leaders demanded the resignation of Daddan Mishra, a minister of state from the area, holding him “morally responsible” for the incident while the BJP and Congress demanded the ordering of an immediate CBI or judicial probe.

Former Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey who led a SP delegation to the village to probe the incident described it as abhorrent where women from the age of 10 years to 70 years were publicly humiliated by disrobing them, parading them naked in and around the village and raping some of them. According to him such blatant violation of the law and its subsequent cover up was not possible if the culprits did not have the support of the local administration who depend on the protection of the political bosses. Pandey said the police had not registered the complaint of the victims for two days and this was not a minor lapse but was crucial to the case as it had helped in destroying vital medical evidence which could have implicated the perpetrators of the crime. Pandey wondered how the news of the ghastly incident that lasted four hours on the morning of July 10 did not reach the police station which was just 3 km away.

Despite the probe team’s report, confirming the mass rape, was shared in the House, parliamentary affairs minister Lalji Verma stuck to the version presented by the government that the medical report of the women did not confirm rape.

The Sain community has still not come out of the shock. A majority of them are still hiding here and there, fearful of returning to their homes in the village. Most of their menfolk work in other cities as labourers and visit the village only once in a while. Many houses in Dhanni Deeh village are deserted today, with their doors open and belongings scattered. Out of the forty houses seen by this correspondent only eight seemed to be occupied. Some of them are finding it difficult to cook their food for want of utensils, wheat and grains which were looted or spoilt by the attackers who broke the jars and threw away the stored grains and pulses. Yet they seem resigned to their fate and feel totally helpless to stand against the attackers, many of whom are personally known to them. When this reporter asked that why they did not used the democratic means to get their rights, they said that if we took such a recourse we would not be able to live here. The Sain community has stopped talking to their Hindu neighbours in the village and nearby areas. Tension is writ large. A police force is camping in both villages at present. [End]

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2 Comments »

  1. Anil said,

    I do not understand why the muslims think that they can get away with hindu girls everytime. From last 1000 years muslims have been kidnapping and raping hindu girls. What is happening in Kashmir from 1989 is glaring example of how this islamic design is being implemented, more than 45000 hindus killed and more than 450000 hindus kicked out. That too threatening hindus from Mosque loudspeakers. It cannot be forgotten that from small girls to old women were mass raped last year in Dhule, Maharashtra. Some of them were sexually mutilated. It is other thing that Hindus are always at receiving end everytime. Will hindus ever dare to do what happened in Godhra, Kashmir, Dhule, and every where in India where Muslims are attacking Hindus, looting them, raping them. This is shear ignorance of Hindus that Muslims are taking disadvantage of them. When Muslims were given more land then there population percentage at the time of partition as a pakistan then what are they doing in India? Either Pakistan should return the land in proportion of Muslims who did not go to Pakistan or India should kick out all the muslims. Just because of Muslims India has so many problems. India would have become a super power hath muslims not been there. And it is not a coincidence that anywhere on the whole earth where there are muslims there are problems! Muslims just cannot leave peacefully with non-muslims as they want to convert whole world as DARUL ISLAM.


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