Molestation of a Hindu woman triggered a clash between two groups in Ismailpur village of Shivala kalan zone, Bijnore district, UP. People attacked each other with lathis (wooden sticks) in which three, including the woman, got injured. Tension prevailed in the village and a large police contingent was rushed to pacify the situation. At night, both sides filed lawsuits against each other leading to 12 people being booked under different sections.
The woman who is a resident of the village Ismailpur went to the neighboring town Naugawan of Amroha district. While returning late in the evening, some Muslim youth started harassing/molesting her. People of the woman’s side arrived at the location. Heated arguments began between both sides which led to a scuffle. After this, the female’s side came back to the village. It is alleged that the molesters along with more people then reached Ismailpur village and started a dispute.
Both sides attacked each other with lathis in which the woman, Rajvir Singh and Nayeem got injured. Police rushed to the sport upon receiving the information. Fearing a communal flare-up, heavy police force was deployed in the village.
From the woman’s side, Zeeshan, Hussain, Rehan, Rahees, Ahmed, Sabir, Zahid and Babu were accused of molestation and assault – police has filed a case against them. From Nayeem’s side, a case has been filed against Lokesh, Dhyan Singh, Rajveer Singh, Satish and Bablu etc. for looting and assault.
Such incidents are rampant in Uttar Pradesh, and the whole nation was shocked recently by the horrific molestation of 2 Dalit girls by a gang of 14 Muslim youth in Rampur. In Sept 2016, a similar molestation bid in Bijnore district had resulted in communal violence that left 4 dead.
A recent report by UP State Crime Records Bureau showed that there was a 161% rise in rape cases in just one year (2014 to 2015) in UP; attempt to rape cases saw a spike of 30% in the same period. In general, number of rape cases each year in UP has been more than the country-wide spike — almost twice the national average.
Hence, the announcement of anti-Romeo squads (likely to be renamed as ‘Nari Suraksha Bal’ or Women Protection Force) by the incumbent UP CM Yogi Adityanath, was welcomed by the general population of UP even though the move was much derided as ‘moral policing’ and ‘organized harassment of Muslim youth’ by Delhi media and left-liberal intelligentsia.
But recent incidents prove that it will take much more than just a special police squad to fix the social attitudes that lead to such molestation of women. While more needs to be done to improve the effectiveness and accountability of police (where are the police reforms?), a major education campaign has to be launched among the Muslim community to teach them to respect women from other communities.
Will self-declared Muslim liberals like Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, Shabnam Hashmi, Aamir Khan, Rana Ayyub, Salman Khurshid, Shahid Siddiqui, Saba Naqvi, Irfan Habib etc. take up this challenge? Will they counter the toxic views of the likes of Samajwadi leader Azam Khan who advised girls should be “kept indoors.” in the wake of the Rampur molestation?
Did you like this article? We’re a non-profit. Make a donation and help pay for our journalism.