Mumbai, December 20: One and a half lakh Banjara youths took a march to Tahasil town of Pusad in Yawatmal district on 17 December, to demand justice against the jihadist elements in the area. A village named 'Kali Daulatkhan' (popularly known as Kali Daulat or Kali), near the tahasil town of Pusad, which has a recent history of minor communal clashes is now at the centre of a new fight between jihadi elements and the majority Hindu Banjara community. Shyam Rathod, a 25-year-old banjara youth, who was preparing for police recruitment exams, was brutally murdered by jihadists on broad daylight of 3rd December, on a main square of the Kali Daulat village before the full view of the villagers, by partially beheading him with swords. The flashpoint was said to be he overtook the jihadists while travelling on his motorcycle, but the villagers say there is more than meets the eyes.
Police have registered an FIR, and have claimed that they have arrested four culprits, but the Banjara community is still furious about the incident. Gour Sena, a Banjara organisation working for the upliftment of the community is heading the agitation. They have demanded widespread action against the jihadists and a permanent solution to the communal clashes in the Kali Daulat area. Kali Daulat is a prosperous village that is a central place for the weekly market for the twenty-plus villages in the vicinity. Kali Daulat and the villages in the area are the home to the Banjara community for ages. But in the recent past, Kali Daulat has witnessed an unnatural surge in the Muslim population which is now nearing forty per cent according to police and civil administration's estimates. As the Muslim population surged, communal disturbances started to occur and now it is a regular affair in the village. The jihadist elements among the large Muslim population like to create clashes with the local Banjara community, out of nothing.
As the incident was reported by the local media, Shyam Rathod was returning from a farm nearby to the village around 3.30 PM on a fatal day on his motorcycle. He happened to overtake a jihadi group on his way back. The jihadi group took the point to create a clash and followed him to the village and blocked his way in the main square of the village. They started a quarrel and within one and half minutes of the start of the argument, one of them took out a sword and sabered the throat of Shyam Rathod, partially beheading him. They also seriously injured his friend who was trying to intervene. Shyam Rathod died on the spot. The incident happened in the full view of the shell-shocked villagers. The jihadists successfully escaped the crime spot.
Shyam Rathod was declared "brought dead" in a govt primary hospital in Pusad and his friend is undergoing treatment. The uncalled for incident sparked a fresh row of clashes between the Hindu Banjaras and the Muslim jihadi community in the village and the vicinity. The police had a tough time controlling the fresh clashes.
Now even after fifteen days of the incident the Kali Daulat and the villages surrounding it are tensed and are imposed with 144. The police have claimed that they have arrested four culprits of the Shyam Rathod murder case. But the villagers claim the masterminds are still at large.
Khushal Rathod, a local social worker told the Organiser, that Shyam was a popular youth among the Kali Daulat and the villages in the vicinity. He was known for the quick assistance he provided for the people in the vicinity who faced any difficulties. He helped people to the hospital, he helped people in the last rights of the dead, he helped people in various troubles they faced in social and personal life.
Shri Ajay, a social entrepreneur who lives in Pusad, told The Organiser, that the citizens feel the trouble in Kali Daulat is fuelled by the NCP leaders, who always side with the jihadists throwing their own community at the side. He said the Gour Sena, the Banjara organisation is an apolitical organisation with a very strong base in the rural areas of Yawatmal district. It has a presence also in the different parts of the state where the Banjara community has a strong presence, he added. The kali Daulat has been stationed with an SRP platoon now due to the communal disturbances, he added.
Khusal Rathod remembered a large march taken out by the Gour Sena in Parabhani district town to demand justice for a Banjara girl who was raped and murdered a few years ago.
The Banjaras involved in the agitation want that Shri Devendra Fadanvis himself should visit the village and listen to their problems as they have no hope left from the ruling MVA government. The Banjara community is a major OBC community in Maharashtra which can tilt the political balance and has a high rate of literacy and has highly educated youth among the community.
Banjaras Boycott JIhadi Traders, Achieve 100% Halal-Free Village
In a desperate move, the Banjaras have now decided to boycott the jihadi traders in the village and the vicinity and are meticulously following the decision in all walks of life. They are trying to replace every trade by transferring the business to Banjara and other Hindu traders. This move by Banjaras hit hard the jihadists where it hurts the most. As a result, the kali Daulat is now a 100% Halal free village with all the mutton shops now owned by Hindu Banjaras. The villagers are trying to achieve this in every trade and are hoping to free every business in the village and the vicinity Jihadi free within a year.
Banjaras Hoot Out Local NCP MLA
When one and a half lakh Banjaras took a march to the tahasil town of Pusad on 17 December, under the leadership of Gour Sena, the local MLA Indraneel Naik wanted to address the gathering. But as he approached the stage, he was hooted out by the angry public and forced to run away from the venue. The Banjaras are angry with the MLA Indraneel Naik and the NCP for always siding with the Muslim jihadists during every clashpoint. The irony is, the Naik family belongs to the same Banjara community. Ex-CM Sudhakar Naik was the grandfather of MLA Indraneel Naik and was a staunch opponent of Sharad Pawar. Another irony is, Indraneel's cousin Nilay is an MLC from BJP.
The Gour Sena has demanded a government job for a family member of the victim, Shyam Rathod and for his injured friend. The Gour Sena has also demanded a ₹ 25 lakh compensation to the victims family. The other demands include a permanent police out post in the village Kali Daulat, the speedy trial of Shyam Rathod murder case before a fast track court, severe punishment for the culprits of the murder and stoppage on all political help to the jihadists by each political party.