by Khalid Bashir Gura
SRINAGAR: A cow vigilante gang attacked a nomadic herder family last night leaving many of them injured. The family was on its way to the seasonal migration route to Kashmir when the attack took place at Palak Manana village in Nadda belt, falling in Samba district.
“We migrate seasonally to escape from Jammu’s sweltering heat and this is our traditional route,” Shabir Ahmad, one of the members of the tribe and victim of the attack said. “At around 12 am on Tuesday-Wednesday night, we loaded the truck with cattle. The gang of around 30 Hindu people besieged us and started beating.”
Interestingly, the gangsters and the victims belonged to the same village. The particular gang has a history of harassing and attacking the herder nomads of the area.
Another attack on nomads, this time in block Nud of district Samba.Last night a nomad family was attacked when they left home for Kashmir. As per family a person namely Sunny & his team thrashed them badly.These attacks will not stop until police take strong action against goons. pic.twitter.com/n66hGLCYog
— Guftar Ahmed (@GuftarAhmedCh) May 26, 2021
After the attack, the tribe members went to the police check post near Nadda expecting they will get some protection. But the gang members reappeared and attacked them again with cops watching the scene.
“They attacked indiscriminately elderly, kids, and women,” Shabir alleged. “As the shattered glass panes of the vehicle fell on us, they dragged us and started thrashing in front of police.”
Attack on Gujjar Bakerwal community of J&K has became a new normal. Yesterday it was Shopian, today it was at Samba. Callous attitude by authorities are the only reasons that everyday tribals are being targeted, harnessed & intimidated for no reasons. #JusticeForGujjarBakerwal
— saima_chowdhary #SOSPoonch (@ChowdharySaima) May 26, 2021
“We were beaten till the crack of dawn and were left to their mercy. They attacked us with rods, stones. Kicked us all through the night,” Shabir said. “When we enquired about the reasons they said we are not carrying legal stock to slaughtering cows.” They were shown permissions issued by the district administration but that did not help.
Around dozen members of the two families of nomadic tribes are injured. “Some have received injuries in their heads, in arms,” he said adding his six-year-old son, Shahid, has received injuries in the eye due to shattered glass of the vehicle. “It is a gundaraaj,” Shabir alleged.
According to him, finally, a convoy of the army shooed away the gang and rescued them.
Rajesh Sharma, SSP Samba said that the matter has been brought to his notice lately and the police have launched an investigation. “Even though FIR has been lodged, no one has been arrested so far,” he said.
Seconding him, the SHO of the police station said that investigation is going on and FIR has also been lodged. When asked why the assailants haven’t been arrested yet, the SHO said, the police are investigating the incident.
Faisal Raza Bokda, the district president of Gujjar Bakarwal Youth Welfare Conference J&K (JKYBC) in Samba, said that the atmosphere of fear has been unleashed on the minority community. He said only police can ensure the safety and security of the tribal community.
Bokda said it is Sunny and his gang, which is involved in attacks on the minority community previously also. “The administration seemingly is uninterested in averting such growing attacks on tribals,” he alleged.
This is the second incident of violence against Jammu Muslims in a month. On May 08, in Garhote village of Tehsil Bhalwal in District Jammu two Gujjar cousins survived an assault on life by cow vigilantes as they were suspected and accused of cow slaughter. They were carrying a bull home from their fields.