Heavy stone pelting and looting of at least one Hindu shop has been reported during a Muharram procession in Majhawa Gangapur village, Bhojipura police station area of Bareilly district in UP. Violence has been reported during a Muharram procession in Varanasi too.
In Bareilly, Hindus protested the 12-feet-high loudspeaker accompanying the Muharram procession that was making its way through the village around 11 AM yesterday. They said it was a new addition to the traditional way of celebrating the Shia Muslim festival.
As the matter got heated, police arrived and reduced the DJ height to 8 feet and asked for DJ to be played in the outer area of village. Around 1 PM, the procession restarted.
But then a rumour started doing the rounds that the tazia (replica of a tomb) had been broken. Suddenly, heavy stone pelting started from Muslim lanes and rooftops.
Vandalism broke out, and Hindus too retaliated. The violence lasted for around 3 hours. Senior officials rushed to the spot to bring the situation under control.
The Muslim rioters especially targeted the medical shop of Lalta Prasad. He ran to save his life, and his shop was looted. In a viral video, Muslim rioters, including women and children, can be seen pelting stones at a shop after forcing open its shutters.
Five Hindus – Lalta Prasad, Suman, Ajay, Premshankar, Vishnu Sharma were injured in the stone pelting and two injuries were reported from the Muslim side too.
In its report carried by many mainstream media outlets like India Today, news agency PTI has turned the entire sequence of events on its head to paint Hindus as the aggressors.
The PTI report says that Hindus complained about the use of DJ (true), but then lies that the Hindus hurled stones and the Muslims processioners ‘retaliated’. The truth is that the DJ matter was settled after police intervention, and the procession was proceeding when the Muslim side suddenly started pelting stones. Stockpile of stones on roof tops indicates pre-planning, or maybe that is their usual state of readiness?
But such reporting is par for the course for PTI. When Islamists had attacked the kanwar yatra in different parts of western UP, including Bareilly, a few days back, then too they had tried to whitewash the Islamist violence in at least one case.
Incidentally, Bareilly is the home of the world-famous Barelvi revivalist school of Sunni Islam (Ahl-e Sunnat wal Jamat), known for its promotion of traditional subcontinental Islamic practices like veneration of Sufi saints. Although presented as ‘moderate’ compared to the ‘hardline’ Deobandis, Barelvi school’s founder also prohibited imitating the ‘kafirs’ (non-believers like Hindus) and both Barelvis and Deobandis consider Shias as ‘kafirs’.
Meanwhile, a Muharram procession in Kardhana village, Murzamurad area of Varanasi also witnessed violence. Muslims started cutting the branches of a jamun tree claiming the tazia was being obstructed, but when locals objected saying there was enough space for the tazia to pass, they assaulted shop keeper Khaderu Sav with lathis and vandalized his kirana store. When the news spread, villagers gathered from nearby areas and a pitched battle broke out. Seeing themselves getting outnumbered, the Shia Muslims started running due to which the tazia also broke. Dozens are said to have been injured.
Hinduphobic digital propaganda outlet Scroll has reported this Islamist-instigated violence thus:
The bloody Sunni-Shia battle is well known and has consumed countless lives across the Muslim world, and clashes between these communities occur frequently in Bharat too. USA has just witnessed the serial murders of Shia Muslims by a Sunni man. But what this Muharram violence in Bareilly and Varanasi show is that when it comes to hate for ‘kafirs’, the radicalization among Shia Muslims is no different than that of Sunni extremists.