Day after, Pratapgarh village tense; 2 FIRs but no arrest
The residents of Asthan village in Pratapgarh, UP, whose houses were torched on Saturday by a mob protesting against the rape and murder of a girl, are living in fear and not even thinking of returning to their homes to begin life afresh. The situation remains tense.
Two FIRs have been registered and 68 people identified. No arrests have been made so far. The police said 46 houses had been torched.
The Station Officer of Nawabganj police station, Arun Kumar Pathak, has been placed under suspension. Senior officials have also sent negative reports against Circle Officer (Kunda) V S Rana.
The violence had erupted when the body of the girl, who was allegedly gangraped and murdered on June 20, was being taken for cremation on Saturday.
The incident comes close on the heels of riots in Kosi Kalan in Mathura, where the Muslim localities were targeted on June 3.
One of the more than 125 "refugees" — put up at T P College in Kunda since Saturday evening — Akhtar Ali (80) said: "The mob came suddenly and surrounded us from all directions. They set our house on fire. My sons and some other residents somehow managed to save me."
At the time, Ali's four sons and three daughters, besides his wife, were present in the house. Three of his sons live in Bhiwandi where they work in powerlooms. Fourth one sells clothes brought from there. Together, they claimed to have lost goods worth over Rs 2.5 lakh.
"More importantly, we feel that the police simply aided the attackers. Give us that much time and we too can teach them (the attackers) a lesson," said an angry Afsar Ali, son of the old man.
The Muslim hamlet houses mostly Ansaris who are employed in the powerloom industry in Bhiwandi. The victims could mostly have been women, children and old men, but for the fact that the many male members had come home to attend marriages. Their cattle, grains and other belongings were either taken away or burnt, they said.
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