Bajrang Dal activists on Sabarmati Express beat up Muslims, force them to shout, ‘Jai Shree Ram’
(Jan Morcha, edited by Sheetla Prasad, is a Hindi daily published from Ayodhya. The paper carried the following story on the 25th of Feb. 2002. You may recall that the events described below took place two days before the gruesome burning of the train at Godhra in Gujarat. The contents are blood curdling and I thought that the report might be of some instructional value, especially in the context of Newtonian Physics as understood by the Gujarat CM & his mentors.
I have tried to stay as close to the original as possible and some of the phrases may not sound as elegant as they would have, had the translation been done in ‘Propah’ English.
-- Sohail Hashmi, SAHMAT, Delhi)
(The English translation of the text)
Bhelsar (Faizabad), 24 February (Our correspondent): Trishuldhari Bajrang Dal workers, travelling to Ayodhya on board the Sabarmati Express this morning, let loose a reign of terror upon dozens of helpless Muslim passengers, burqa clad women and innocent children. They also targeted the people waiting at the platform, forcing them to shout slogans of Jai Shree Ram. A few even declared themselves to be Hindus in order to escape their wrath.
According to eyewitnesses, close to 2000 Trishul carrying Bajrang Dal workers, on board the Sabarmati Express coming from the direction of Lucknow, began indulging in these activities from the Daryabad Station. Any one identified as a Muslim, on the train, was mercilessly attacked with Trishuls and beaten with iron rods. Even women and innocent children were not spared. Burqas were pulled off, women were beaten with iron rods and were dragged, people waiting at the platform were also similarly targeted.
This continued between the Daryabad and Rudauli Stations. According to an eyewitness, a youth who protested against this barbarism was thrown off the train between the Patranga and Rojagaon stations. Several women, badly wounded and covered in blood, jumped off the train as it pulled into Rudauli around 8 a.m. The Bajrang Dal activists also got off the train and started attacking those that they identified as Muslims from among those present at the platform.
Ata Mohammad from Takia Khairanpur waiting to catch a train to Allahabad was badly beaten, some others were forced to shout, ‘Jai Shree Ram’ some escaped by declaring that they were Hindus. 50-year-old Mohd. Absar lives near the station, he was grabbed as he stepped out of his house his long beard was rudely pulled before he was repeatedly stabbed with Trishuls. Another man from the Rudauli Police Station area who happened to be at the station was badly beaten with iron rods. Local residents rang up the police.
By the time the Police Chowki-in-Charge, Bhelsar, arrived at the station the train had left and the injured were being rushed to the hospitals. No report was registered at the police station since the officer-in-charge was unavailable. The injured have no idea why they were attacked.
Rumors are rife. The people
are petrified; respected Hindus and Muslims of the area have condemned the
shameful attack, Muslims religious leaders have appealed for peace and requested
that there be no retaliation.
(Trishul is a traditional religious symbol that has been carried around for long by sadhus in India. In recent months, however, the Bajrang Dal has distributed lakhs of knives that can kill among its activists, cleverly designed to look like trishuls. Social activists and political parties have raised an alarm over the murderous intent behind this apparent religious adornment of the Bajrangdalis. See cover story, Communalism Combat, December 2001).