Nasiruddin, a 53-year-old ration shop owner, was at work as usual on the afternoon of September 8, 2022, when between 4:15 and 4:30 p.m., an armed marauding crowd, a segment from the Mahaviri Akhara Rally, came and set fire to his store.
They pulled and dragged him out of the shop, and as they were doing it, the other people from the agitated crowd cheered while chanting “Jai Shri Ram.”
Had he not cooperated, the agitated mob would have thrown him in the fire.
Nasiruddin was numb and shocked to watch smoke spewing from his shop. Only his shop being attacked in the vicinity terrified him rather more. In Barharia village of Bihar’s Siwan district, hundreds of saffron-clad men armed with sticks, and swords carried out an annual Mahaviri Akhara Rally in the afternoon of September 8, 2022. The rally turned violent as it reached Madni masjid near Purani Bazaar.
According to local eye-witnesses, Muslims were offering early-evening prayers inside the mosque, while participants from the rally started dancing to provocative music in front of the mosque.
Some of the men who were part of the Mahaviri Akhara even attempted to enter the mosque. Participants in the Mahaviri Akhada procession clashed with Namazis, as the former swooped upon those holding the namaz inside the mosque and started beating them with lathis. The tussle resulted in widespread havoc on Muslim’s businesses. The agitated mobs targeted the muslim properties by torching them and remained dominant till late hours, while Policemen stood near the spot, offering no reaction.
Two people in the mob that burnt down Nasiruddin’s shop lived in his own neighborhood. Nasiruddin had seven people in his family dependent on him and his ration shop was the only source of income he had.
Dejected, he was wailing at the loss, when miles2smile learned about his dire financial situation. He suffered a loss of around one lakh. Miles2smile immediately raised a generous sum from the kind donors to recover his shop.
Without any delay, we sent financial aid to his family to jumpstart his shop’s recovery. Now, the family has regained control of their lives, as his small shop is once again providing adequately to his family.