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20 Muslim families forced to leave village in Rajasthan after threats, social boycott from upper caste Hindus

Twenty Muslim families were reportedly forced to flee their homes in Rajasthan's Dantal village in Jaisalmer district, fearing social boycott and relentless threats from upper Caste Hindu neighbours.

The incident took place on Friday, nearly two weeks after a Muslim singer, Ahmad Khan, 48, from the Langa Manganiyar community was allegedly killed by the village priest Ramesh Suthar, reports said.

 20 Muslim families forced to leave village in Rajasthan after threats, social boycott from upper caste Hindus

Representational image. AFP

The victim's family had reportedly filed a complaint against the wishes of the villagers.

According to Times of India, on Navratra (27 September) this year, Suthar asked Ahmad, a folk singer who had been performing at the temple for nearly a decade, "to sing a particular raag so that the temple goddess's spirit could enter the priest's body. However, blaming Ahmad's poor singing as the reason for the goddess to 'abandon' him, Suthar assaulted the singer".

"My husband was murdered over a petty issue and we were treated like doomed. Dantal can no longer be home to us," Ahmad's widow, Kenku told the newspaper. Dantal is located about 700 kilometres from state capital Japiur

Ahmad's family told the newspaper that their boycott started after the police registered a case of murder against the accused.

According to a Hindustan Times report, upper caste villagers ordered the 200-odd Muslims in Dantal to leave the village. However, the Muslims have only registered a case of murder and refused to officially name anyone for threat and discrimination, the police said.

“They threatened us that if we did not leave the village they will kill us. After that about 20 families consisting around 200 members have left the village and took shelter at nearby Balad village in our relative’s house,” Suge told the newspaper.

Dantal village sarpanch Khet Singh has refuted the allegations of threatening the Muslim villagers, and blamed anti-social elements for creating a ruckus, the Hindustan Times report said.

He also told the newspaper that Ahmad died due to cardiac arrest. However, the police, according to the report, said prima facie Khan died due to physical assault.

The police arested Suthar on 4 October while two other accused are absconding. The police has also exhumed Ahmad's body and a detailed report is expected soon.

The Mulsim families are reportedly living under police protection in their relatives homes in nearby village named Balad, nearly 20 kilometres from Dantal.

Suthar, like the Manganiyars, belongs to a lower caste but had the support of all the upper caste people in the village,
The Times of India said.

Ahmad's death is the latest of crimes against minority communitt in the BJP-ruled state, which had earlier witnessed the death of a cattle trader named Pehlu Khan in the hands of cow protectors.

Updated Date: Oct 11, 2017 02:26:21 IST