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Jan Morcha, edited by Sheetla Prasad, is a Hindi daily published from Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. The paper carried the following story on the 25th of Feb. 2002. The events described below took place 2 days before the gruesome burning of the train at Godhra in Gujarat
The following is a English rendering of the report
Bajrang Dal Activists on Sabarmati Express beat up Muslims, Forcing them to shout Jai Shri Ram Slogans. Bhelsar (Faizabad), 24 February By Our Correspondent). Bajrang Dal workers armed with trishuls (tridents) , 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 Shri 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 Shri 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 Bhelsar Police station chief) , 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. Rumours 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.
The Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia was formed in 1993 to combat rising religious intolerance in South Asia and to campaign for peace and justice in the region. We are committed to working towards a just, non-violent resolution of the crisis we are currently living through. If you are interested in joining us in this work, please call 617-983-3934 or e-mail email@example.com
2 Jul 2007
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