The dust hasn't yet settled on Haridwar hate speech, now another incident against Muslims has come to the fray. In a viral video, a large group of people can be seen taking an oath to boycott Muslim vendors and end any commercial transactions. The incident took place in a village in Surguja district of Chhattisgarh, but the video has been widely circulated on social media, drawing severe flak.

The Chhattisgarh Police on Friday ordered a probe into the incident after the video went viral on social media. Surguja collector Sanjeev Jha said an additional police superintendent and sub-divisional magistrate visited the said village on Thursday and spoke to the residents.

The police is yet to identify the accused who gathered the villagers to take a mass pledge to boycott Muslim vendors and raised slogans against them. The police is also reviewing the footage to identify the accused and then arrest them.

Chhattisgarh: Villagers' anti-Muslim pledge sparks row; police order probe [details]
Chhattisgarh: Villagers' anti-Muslim pledge sparks row; police order probe [details]IBT

Boycotting Muslim vendors

The viral video shows a large group of villagers taking oath with their one hand stretched out, pledging to boycott any commercial transactions with Muslim vendors. The villagers can be seen repeating after an unidentified man dictating the pledge. Read some excerpts from the pledge below:

"We Hindus will not buy goods from any Muslim shopkeeper."

"We Hindus will not sell or rent our land to any Muslim."

"We Hindus will not work with Muslims."

The villagers were even heard pledging to take the land back, in case it has already been given to Muslims. The video appears to be undated, but the villagers concluded the pledge saying: "Today on 5th of January, 2022, we at gram Kundi Kanlan, unanimously take this decision, which we will follow for the rest of our lives."

What early probe reveals

Speaking to International Business Times, Surguja IGP Ajay Yadav, IPS, said that the incident took place just days after a brawl took place at a New Year celebration, but it was given a communal spin. Assistant police superintendent Vivek Shukla said the villagers of Ara in Balrampur district had visited Kundi Kala to celebrate NYE.

"The villagers of Ara, who were from a particular community, got into a brawl with residents of Kundi Kala village. After the brawl, the villagers of Ara went back to their village and returned again and got into a fight. Police rushed to the spot and registered a case and booked the villagers under relevant sections. The next day, six people from Ara were arrested and sent to jail but later got bail the same day. This enraged the Kundi Kala villagers," said Shukla.

Chhattisgarh Police
Chhattisgarh Police: Villagers' anti-Muslim pledge sparks row; police order probe [details]Wikimedia Commons

Surguja SP Amit Tukaram, IPS, released a statement on the incident and said that around 10-15 people from Ara village came in bikes and cars after the initial altercation and entered one Birendra Yadav's house and assaulted his family members. The police patrolling party quickly reached the spot and addressed the issue. The accused were booked under Section 147, 294, 323, 506, 452 and were arrested shortly after.

According to sources, the group of outsiders instigated the villagers after the bail and burst crackers. The villagers then stormed to the Lundra police station, where the officers explained the facts about how they took suitable action and that the bail was granted by the court. The villagers were even assured that if the need arose to appeal for bail rejection, it will be pursued. The villagers returned after being satisfied by the police's response.

When the video of the pledge went viral on social media, Add'l SP, DM of Surguja among other police officials went to the village and explained to the villagers and calmed the situation. The situation has since been brought under control after making the villagers understand the facts, Yadav said.

With regards to the video, the police are investigating who instigated the villagers to take the place and an FIR will be registered.