Two weeks after a Muslim man was lynched to death in Danta village of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, 20 families belonging to the same community have reportedly fled the village on Friday.
On September 27, 48-year-old Ahmad Khan was allegedly thrashed to death after a minor tiff with the temple priest.
Khan hailed from Manganiyar community of Muslims who are known for their folk songs in praise of Hindu deities. He had been performing in Navratri gatherings in the village temple for nearly a decade.
Lynched over 'poor' singing
On the day of the assault, Suthar, the temple priest, had reportedly asked Khan to sing a particular song which is believed to please the Goddess and make her spirit enter the priest's body.
On observing that nothing happened, the priest blamed Ahmad's poor singing to be the reason for the goddess to 'abandon' him and assaulted the 55-year-old singer.
The assault later led to lynching which happened outside Khan's house. Suthar, along with two of his relatives — Tara Ram and Shyam Ram, dragged Khan out from his house and thrashed him. Khan reportedly succumbed to injuries on the spot.
"My husband was murdered over a petty issue and we were treated like doomed. Danta can no longer be home to us," said Ahmad's widow, Kenku.
His body was found in the temple the next morning. Sources told that Khan's family was threatened and stopped from filing a First Information Report (FIR).
One of Khan's son said, "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," Khan's son added.
"He(Suthar) broke Khan's musical instruments and also assaulted him," a local police official was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying.
The Manganiyars residing in the village were also threatened by the priest. Fearing for their lives, Khan's family secretly buried his body.
Autopsy confirms physical assault
However, the family lodged an FIR on October 1, post which the police launched an investigation. A case was registered against the accused under Section 302 for murder and Section 323 ( punishment for voluntarily causing hurt).
Following a complaint by Khan's family, all the 20 Manganiyar families, involving around 200 people, were forced to leave Danta.
The police recovered Khan's body later, and in the post-mortem, it was discovered that Khan succumbed to his injuries caused due to severe thrashing.
The temple priest, who reportedly stands as the main accused, has been arrested by the police. Meanwhile, the other two involved in lynching are on the run.
This was the second lynching incident where an individual from the minority group was thrashed to death in Danta, Rajasthan.