In a case of caste violence, Akbar Ali, a disabled man, was brutally attacked by a gang at Rampur Bairiya village in Bihar’s East Champaran district. The police have registered a case following last Friday night’s incident, but no arrest has been made.
Ali’s friend Mustafa Ansari, who was also beaten up, told The Hindu on the phone that a group of 15 people, including the mukhiya (village chief) Sarfaraz Ahmad Khan, ambushed them and attacked them with rods.
“I could somehow free myself, but Ali was beaten to pulp. He was already disabled in one hand and now the other has suffered a fracture. His limbs are plastered and he would take around two months to get well.”
Ansari said he, along with Ali and another friend, was returning from a wedding reception around 9.30 p.m. when the attack took place. In his statement to Khalid Anis Ansari, a researcher with the Delhi-based organisation ‘The Patna Collective’, Ali said from his hospital bed: “They beat me up until I stopped screaming. They thought I was dead and they left.”
Eight months ago, Ali filed a petition before the Election Commission and the Patna High Court challenging the mukhiya’s election. Besides that, there have been continual tensions between upper caste Muslims, comprising Pathans and Sayyeds, and Pasmanda Muslims, consisting of various sub-castes. Ali belongs to a Pasmanda community.
According to a press release issued by Ali Anwar Ansari, MP and president of the All India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz, Sarfaraz Ahmad Khan was involved in a 2007 case of arson but he did not mention it while filing his nomination papers even though the case was sub judice. “The poor Muslims opposed his election as mukhiya.”
On the December 7 incident, Superintendent of Police Ganesh Kumar told The Hindu: “This is a fight regarding the panchayat elections. Yes, the incident has taken place, but there are no serious caste tensions in the village. For the past four or five years, there has been infighting among Muslims. We will find the culprits who are in hiding and arrest them soon.” The Hindu.
Meanwhile, a counter case has been registered against Mustafa Ansari under the Arms Act. “First you escape a bid on your life and then the police will register a case against you. Had I not run away and had my other friend not called for help, we would all have been dead,” he said.
This article has been corrected for a factual error.