A deadly riot broke out in Shahganj area of Aurangabad on Friday night after an illegal water connection in a mosque was removed by the municipality. A disabled senior citizen Jaganlal Bansile (62) was burnt alive when his house was set on fire by rioters. Police had to resort to use of tear gas and plastic bullets to control the rioting, and one youth Abdul Qadri (17) was killed when a plastic bullet pierced his kidney.
Around 60 people are said to be injured, including around a dozen policemen, while shops and vehicles worth crores was destroyed in the rioting which lasted till the early hours of Saturday morning.
One of the injured policemen, ACP Govardhan Kolekar, is in a critical condition and is being shifted to Mumbai –
#Maharashtra: Asst Commissioner of Police Govardhan Kolekar, who got injured during clash between 2 groups in Aurangabad on May 11, is being shifted to Mumbai as his condition is critical. (File Pic) pic.twitter.com/siELLJM8Z9
— ANI (@ANI) May 14, 2018
Other policemen injured were -ACP (crime) Rameshwar Thorat, City Chowk police inspector Hemant Kadam, Kranti Chowk police inspector Shripad Paropkari and several crime branch personnel.
As per a BBC Marathi report, Suresh Bansile decided to move his family to a safer place as soon as the rioting erupted in front of his house. His disabled father asked Suresh to first ensure the women & children were safe before coming back for him. By the time Suresh came back, his house had been set on fire and 62-year-old Jaganlal Bansile had died a painful death.
Illegal water connection to mosque disconnected
The same BBC report tells us that the Municipal corporation of Aurangabad had had started a campaign to break the unauthorized tap connections in Shahganj area, which falls in the old city area. It is said that the illegal tap connection of a mosque was broken, but the tap connection outside a temple was not, sparking an argument.
However, the Aurangabad administration have denied any partiality in the municipal campaign – “A total of 40 illegal taps were disconnected by the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation. All the connections were in Shahganj area, and the connections were broken irrespective of caste or religion,” said Additional Commissioner of Police Balkrishna Bhal Singh.
For argument’s sake, let us assume that an illegal tap connection outside a mosque was broken while that outside a temple was not – does that in any way justify such deadly rioting? If I am caught doing something illegal, can I argue that why I alone am being targeted? Also, how is it possible to mobilize such a large mob armed with petrol bombs etc at short notice over a minor issue like a water connection?
Hindu mandirs/sacred trees etc are often relocated/destroyed for highway construction, while the administration tiptoes around similar Muslim places of worship – in one case, a mosque in Muzaffarnagar which was obstructing NH 58 could not be moved for 10 years despite causing 80 fatalities. Should Hindu groups go around rioting to protest this ‘partiality’ of the state? In a democratic set up, any aggrieved party can appeal to the district administration or CM or launch a peaceful protest campaign.
The AIMIM link
Aurangabad was an important town in the princely state of Hyderabad ruled by the Nizam, and it continues to be a stronghold of the radical Islamist party AIMIM (All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen) which carries forward the Nizam’s legacy. The AIMIM supremo and Islamic hardliner MP Asaduddin Owaisi came up with his own theory for the riots –
Communal Riot Aurangabad,shops have burned ,report of death 1 person due to police firing shops near Shahganj Masjid,Angori Bagh ,Nawabpura damaged @CMOMaharashtra should order a probe especially the role Racchu PAHELWAN ,send additional forces Peace must prevail @imtiaz_jaleel
— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) May 12, 2018
Notice how Owaisi completely ignores the ghastly murder of Jaganlal Bansile, and only mentions the Muslim youth killed in police firing.
Now, who is this Racchu PAHELWAN he is talking about? The BBC report tells us that it is actually Lacchu Pehlwan, aka Laxminarayan Bakhodia (Bhakhriya) – a local strongman who is said to own several shops in the area and whose daughter (Yashashri Laxminarayan Bhakhriya) is an independent corporator in the Aurangabad municipal corporation. As per the BBC report, there was recently an argument between Irfan Sheikh, a Muslim mango-trader, and Bakhodia which turned ugly and in which AIMIM corporator Sayyed Sheikh sided with Sheikh.
Hence no surprise that everyone in AIMIM, from MP Owaisi to local MLA Imtiaz Jaleel, is alleging Laxminarayan Bakhodia’s hand in the rioting. Knowing the clout that AIMIM enjoys in Aurangabad, especially in the Muslim-dominated old city area, and their past history of violence, the tactic of blaming someone else is most likely a ploy to deflect investigation of AIMIM’s own role in the rioting.
Aurangabad town has 50% Hindus, 31% Muslim and 15% Buddhist population as per Census 2011. These two tweets sum up the situation on the ground –
It was a Peaceful Friday in #Aurangabad. Only 100 shops gutted. Petrol bombs hurled. Lives lost. All, due to water cut-off to a mosque for the mounting dues. How insecure can a minority get! But, all the hyperventing anchors are busy rioting over crystal ball gazing in Karnataka.
— सुशील पंडित🇮🇳Sushil Pandit (@neelakantha) May 12, 2018
This 'डरा हुआ …' in Modi-raj narrative is for propaganda & foreign media consumption. Fact is they are as brazen on streets as they were in UPA era. This fake propaganda is to perpetually keep BJP govts/police on defensive. And they are succeeding
— iMac_too (@iMac_too) May 12, 2018
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