'When the police asked them to reveal their identity they showed their Aadhar cards as proof and did not hide anything.'
Three days after Bajrang Dal members in Bihar's Hajipur town mercilessly assaulted six Muslim men, who were dressed as sadhus and begging with Basaha bulls, alleging that they were either Rohingya Muslims or Bangladeshi Muslims and part of a terror conspiracy, the local police state that they have found nothing incriminating against the Muslim men.
On Monday, July 25, when the Bajrang Dal men accosted the six men for begging as sadhus at Kadamghat in Hajipur, they did not hide their identity, stated that they were Muslims and explained that they have been begging as their livelihood for generations.
Their explanations made no difference to the Bajrang Dal men, one of whom was captured on camera, beating them up mercilessly.
After they were assaulted, the six men were handed over to the local police who arrested them, but released them hours later.
Subodh Singh, the police officer who is in charge of the Hajipur town police station, said the police released the six men as nothing suspicious was found about them. They were neither involved in any criminal act nor had they violated any law.
All six bulls in their possession were sent to a local gaushala.
Another police officer said the men informed the police that they have been begging dressed as sadhus with Basaha bulls, who are considered sacred and symbolise purity, particularly during the ongoing month of Sawan.
"When the police asked them to reveal their identity they showed their Aadhar cards as proof and did not hide anything," the Hajipur police officer stated, adding. "They said their forefathers too begged with sacred bulls, as per their age-old tradition."
The Hajipur police have lodged a case against Bajrang Dal member Veer Kumar Singh and half a dozen other unidentified persons for assaulting the men and disrupting communal harmony.
None of the accused have been arrested so far.
The men the Bajrang Dal members assaulted have been identified as Karim Ahmed (38), Syed Ali (40), Hassan (30), Mehboob (32), Haleem Ahmed (35) and Subrati (30), all residents of two villages in Bahraich district, Uttar Pradesh.
Before they arrived in Hajipur, the headquarters of Vaishali district, the men told the police that they had visited Harnaut in Nalanda district to beg.
They told the police that they had transported the Basaha bulls by a pick up van from Nalanda to Hajipur and planned to return to UP from Hajipur after collecting a decent amount of money from begging.
Mangu Yadav, a resident of Hajipur who is in his late 60s, said Muslim men dressed in saffron have been begging with Basaha bulls for years. "They had told me a few years ago that they were earning a livelihood in the name of Bhagwan Shiv by begging and showing him respect and love," Yadav recalled.
Echoing Yadav, Shamshad Alam, another resident of Hajipur, said Muslims belonging to the Shah or Sai communities (so-called beggar castes) have been doing so for years in Bihar as well.
Many of them sing bhajans and beg in the name of Bhagwan Shiv, Ram and Krishna, Alam added.