The communal attacks on the Gujjar nomads in Jammu have continued unabated whileFriday’s attack by Gau Rakshaks on the nomads has drawn widespread criticism with BJP leader and Animal Husbandry Minister, Abdul Gani Kohli, terming it as a “handiwork of some miscreants.”
Local Gujjars of Jammu said that they are living on the edge due to the attacks on them in the region. Violent mob had attacked those transporting the cattle and even vehicles have been burnt in the Muslim areas of Rajouri and Poonch.
A number of Muslim residents of Talab Khatikan and Gujjar Nagar said that even the local police administration was turning a blind eye to the incidents of attacks on the minority community.
“Muslims are living on the edge in Jammu,” said a local resident of Talab Khatikan, who was earlier booked by police under public safety act (PSA) after taking part in the protest over sacrilegious act of some Hindus. He wished anonymity for fear of reprisal.
Sources said that Hindus have formed Gau Rakshak committees at different Mohalla levels and the Gujjar nomads have faced almost daily attacks for the last few years after the PDP-BJP government assumed office.
Reacting over the Friday’s incident on attack on Gujjars at Reasi in Jammu, Kohli said that the incident was condemnable.
“Anyone who tries to vitiate the communally harmonious atmosphere, be it a Hindu or a Muslim will face the law. Police have already initiated action against the miscreants by arresting some of them,” he said.
Five people of a family including a 9-year old girl were injured in an attack by Gau Rakshaks in the Reasi district of Jammu division. The incident took place when a nomad family moving with their livestock near the Talwara area were intercepted by a group of Gau Rakshaks and beaten up with iron rods. Police have arrested four people, while the investigation in the case was going on.
Gujjar activist and president of Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, Javid Rahi, said that the attacks on the nomadic community have increased.
“Every now and then there is an attack on the Gujjars. Nomadic community has been involved in rearing the cattle, but is now facing a difficult time,” he said. Rahi said that the steps should be taken so that the incidents like the one which was reported on Friday don’t recur.
“There are some people who are trying to disturb the communally harmonious relations in Jammu,” he said.