On Friday, several members associated with a Hindu organization named Rashtriya Shriram Sangha were brutally assaulted by a mob of Muslims in Manmad area of Nashik district in Maharashtra. The Sangha members including its President, Yogesh Chuniyan were thrashed for posting social media status regarding the change of name of Aurangabad district.
On February 24, the Maharashtra government changed the nomenclature of Aurangabad and Osmanabad districts and renamed them as Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar and Dharashiv respectively. The members of the Rashtriya Shriram Sangh since then have been posting social media stories lauding the decision and praising the government.
However, on March 17, a mob of around 15 to 17 Muslims arrived at the Manmad office of the Sangh and assaulted its President and three other Hindu persons identified as Ganesh Inglae, Prasad Shirsat and Kanhaiya Pawar. The Manmad police filed an FIR in the case based on the official complaint filed by Chuniyan. The complaint copy has been obtained by OpIndia in which it is mentioned that the incident happened on March 17 at around 3:30 pm.
Chuniyan stated in the complaint that accused Aman Sheikh, Salman Pathan, Taufik Sheikh, Sameer Sheikh and Lalyya Pathan barged into the Sangha office at around 4 pm and began abusing him and other Sangha members for posting social media stories regarding the change of name of Aurangabad district to Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar. Later they thrashed the Hindu members with iron rods and fighter weapon resulting in massive injuries and chaos. The Muslim mob also happened to vandalize the Sangha office before running away from the spot.
Dy SP confirms assault, files FIR
OpIndia contacted Deputy Superintendent of Police Manmad, Samar Singh who confirmed the incident and said that around 15-17 persons attacked the Rashtriya Shriram Sangha members and abused them over a social media story. “Around last week, one of the Hindu persons had posted a story regarding name change of Aurangabad district to Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar. The story was not well received by some of his friends from the Muslim community. It went viral and later the Hindu persons and the Muslims engaged into a brawl. Later the Hindus happened to repost the same story in which it was said that how changing the named of Aurangabad to Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar is good for Hindus. The Muslim people then gathered and abused the Hindu persons who were engaged in some routine tasks outside the Rashtriya Shriram Sangh office. Then they barged into the office and assaulted the Hindu members. Around 4 have been reported injured,” he said.
Singh further added that the Police have filed an FIR in the case and have booked 5 Muslims identified as Aman Sheikh, Salman Pathan, Taufik Sheikh, Sameer Sheikh and Lalyya Pathan. “The FIR has been filed under the Atrocities Act and section 324 of the Indian Penal Code (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means). A detailed report will soon be made public,” he said.
Rashtriya Shriram Sangh President claims mob around 300 Muslims attacked
Meanwhile, OpIndia also talked to Yogesh Chuniyan, the president of the Rashtriya Shriram Sangha, Manmad, who was also assaulted by the Muslim mob. He claimed that there were around 300 Muslim people who arrived at the Sangha office and assaulted the Hindu members for posting Aurgangabad-related social media stories.
While exclusively talking to OpIndia over the incident, he said, “Manmad is a Muslim-dominated town and these kinds of incidents happen here frequently. On March 17, I was in a meeting and we all were preparing for the upcoming Ram Navami festival. Suddenly, around 5-6 Muslims entered the Sangha office and began abusing us for uploading Aurangabad-related social media stories. Later they used iron rods and weapons to hit us and threaten us. I am associated with Sangh. But I had called Prasad Shirsat for making Ram Navami banners ahead of the festival. Also, Ganesh Inglae and Kanhaiya Pawar had come to the office for some work. All of us were assaulted and have suffered severe injuries.”
For posting status on Sambhaji Nagar name change; mob of 300 #Jihadi attacked, grievously injured 5, destroyed Rastriya Shriram Sangh office at #Manmad; @SPNashikRural ASP Aniket Bharti, DSP Salve suppressing matter n not registering FIR @Dev_Fadnavis @DGPMaharashtra @NiteshNRane pic.twitter.com/UY8fBqur0G
— Legal Rights Observatory- LRO (@LegalLro) March 18, 2023
Earlier banner containing photo of Prabhu Shriram was allegedly vandalized
The victims were then shifted to the local hospital which recommended admitting them at the Nashik Hospital. Chuniyan talked to OpIndia while he was undergoing treatment at the district hospital. He added that there have been communal tensions in Manmad for the past 8 days. Earlier, on March 12, the Muslims happened to tear the banner of the Rashtriya Shriram Sangh which contained the image of Prabhu Shriram. The Muslims also threatened the Sangh members to stop their activities. Yogesh Chuniyan then filed a police complaint at the local police station and said that the incident had hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindus.
“We filed a police complaint. But the Police then did not heed us. Instead one of the officers said that I am a history-sheeter and that I should ignore such incidents. The Police have good connections with the Mulsim community and many of the community members hold administrative offices here. So they (police) asked me to forget and settle the incident. But I filed an official complaint. Though no action was taken in the case,” Chuniyan alleged.
He also suspected that the current incident was planned and supported by some of the police officers. “In the past, the police have filed several fake complaints against me. They have charged me for murder and also for indulging in illegal liquor sale. Last year during Navratri, I was in Puntamba for some Sangh associated work. We also performed pandal pooja there, footages of which are available. The Manmad police at that time raided a liquor store here and filed a fake FIR against me. They have also charged me for murder. I have asked them several times to show the evidences and proofs of my involvement but to no avail. All this is I think because I am a Sangh member,” he claimed.
Muslims threatening over social media
Chuniyan also stated that the accused Muslims have been targeting and threatening him over social media since he filed a complaint against tearing off the banner of the Rashtriya Shriram Sangha which contained the image of Prabhu Shriram. He also shared audio messages of the threats in which one of the accused could be heard saying, “Iske baad ye jaati wale status dikhne nh mangta samjha kya. Itna marunga na gharme ghuske. Dikhna nh chaiye ye sab (Here onward you shall not post any religious status. Otherwise I’ll hit you very badly).”
The Rashtriya Shriram Sangha led by Chuniyan has demanded strict action in the case. He said that the accused members named in the FIR should be severely punished for assaulting, abusing and threatening the Hindu members. As stated by the Deputy Superintendent of Police Manmad, Samar Singh, five accused persons named Aman Sheikh, Salman Pathan, Taufik Sheikh, Sameer Sheikh and Lalyya Pathan have been booked under the Atrocities Act and the Indian Penal Code. Further investigations into the case are underway.