Muslims forced to abandon Rajasthan village amid threats

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SHAFAQNA – About 20 Muslim families were forced to leave their village in Rajasthan, India, following threats from Hindu extremists, in a string of events starting with the murder of a Muslim folk singer, police said.

The 200-odd Muslim people, including women and children, are living in houses of their relatives at Balad, about 20 kilo meter from their village Dantal in Jaisalmer district.

The mass exodus is the latest in a series of incidents targeting the Muslim community in the BJP-ruled state, where a cattle trader from Haryana, Pehlu Khan, was lynched in April by a cow protection vigilante group.

Trouble at the Jaisalmer village began during a Navratri function in a village temple on September 27, where folk musician Amad Khan performed religious songs, a tradition in Dantal, about 700 kilometer from state capital, Japiur.

Khan, 45, belonged to a folk artist community known as Langa Maganiyaar. At night, he was kidnapped by a local Hindu, Ramesh Suthar, and later his body was thrown outside the house. The next day, Hindu community members threatened Khan’s family against lodging a complaint with police. They, however, mustered courage to do so. With the lodging of the complaint, Ramesh Suthar and other Hindu villagers ordered the Muslims to leave the village.

“They threatened us that if we did not leave the village they will kill us. After that about 20 families consisting around 200 members have left the village and took shelter at nearby Balad village in our relative’s house,” Suge Khan, the brother of the deceased said.

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