On 31 July, a small district of Haryana witnessed communal clashes between two Groups Which left 6 people dead. Bajrang Dal, a self proclaimed religious Group held religious procession in Nuh District of Haryana, which is a Muslim majority area. When the procession reached Nuh, two groups got engaged in violence which later spread to other districts such as Gurgaon, Palwal, Hodal and Rewari. The reason behind the communal violence is still not known and authorities are investigating the matter. Monu Manesar (Mohit Yadav-30) is a prominent figure in the vigilante group, who is also under investigation for his alleged role in the communal violence. Monu has a controversial history for campaigning against Cattle smugglers and Love jihad. Monu has a special controversial history when it comes to Mewat (Nuh).
Monu Manesar and his controversial past about Mewat
In recent years, there has been an alarming increase in incidents of violence and homicide under the pretext of cow protection in the country, particularly after the Modi government came into power in 2014. According to data provided by Human Rights Watch, from 2015 to 2018, these attacks claimed the lives of 44 individuals. Shockingly, out of the victims, 36 were Muslims.
Monu Manesar became famous for his active presence on social media. He shares videos of cow smugglers and can be seen beating and thrashing them. His presence was actively noted in the Mewat region during the year 2022. On April 23, 2022 a Muslim man was beaten and womens were harassed by Bajrang Dal workers in a small village of Firojpur Jhirka and they later abducted a Muslim man on the pretext of cow smuggling. Similar incidents were reported in other two villages – Basai meo and Rawli. Later Rambhakt Gopal, a criminal who shot Jamia Millia Islamia student, was seen pointing guns at children and women with Bajrang Dal members. All these incidents were connected with Monu Manesar as he was the chief of the vigilante group. He mostly posts beating and chasing Mewati driver’s. He openly speaks ill about Mewat and its people.
One such tragic incident occurred in Husainpur village of Mewat district in Haryana. A 22-year-old Muslim youth named Waris, who was allegedly involved in the cattle trade, lost his life on the morning of January 28th. Monu Manesar was Snapped just before his death and members can be seen beating the victim. Police did not file any FIR in this regard, which sparked the anger in people.
A few days later, In a shocking incident that has sent shockwaves throughout the nation, two Muslim men were allegedly abducted and brutally murdered by members of the Bajrang Dal, a self-proclaimed Gau Rakshak group, in Nuh district of Haryana. The victims were identified as 25-year-old Nasir and 35-year-old Junaid. Main accused was Monu Manesar was given freehand by Haryana police, all these incidents made him Hero to the majority of people and Evil to the Mewati meos.
Was Monu Manesar Responsible for Nuh violence?
On July, 28 Monu Manesar posted a video on his social media account claiming that he would attend the religious procession and invited others to join him. His online presence and doing religious procession publically raises questions about Haryana and Rajasthan police, who were claiming that they are trying to catch him for his alleged role in a double murder case which took place in Haryana’s Bhiwani district. Monu’s video has sent shockwaves through Mewat district, triggering a wave of apprehension and discontent. The video has cast doubts on the expectations of justice from the local police, leaving many residents disillusioned.
In the video, Monu employs incendiary language that has resonated deeply within the Mewat community, igniting anger and resentment. The controversial phrases used in the video have stoked the emotions of the people of Mewat, exacerbating existing tensions.
Talim Hussain, advocate at Haryana Punjab High Court, stated that Monu Manesar deliberately uploaded a video two days prior to the journey to incite people, which resulted in orchestrated violence by Bajrang Dal and VHP members targeting the underprivileged Muslims of Mewat. Husain further asserted, ‘Both Rajasthan and Haryana police are equally responsible in this matter, as the police of any state have failed to fulfill their duties. The prevailing situation in the region is a direct consequence of the police’s inefficiency.’
When we spoke to Mr. Akhtar Hussain, the President of Mewat Vikas Sabha, about this incident, he revealed, “The video of Monu Mansar had ignited anger among people, and activists from groups like Bajrang Dal, including Bittu Bajrangi, disrupted the atmosphere through Facebook posts and live videos.” Akhtar Hussain emphasized that the government should take stern action against such wanted criminals to prevent any untoward incidents in the future.
We talked with a truck driver named Sabir, it came to light that he lacks formal education and struggles with comprehending complex matters. Interestingly, despite his limited understanding, Sabir was aware of the fact that Monu was coming to Mewat.
Sabir believes Monu allegedly sent hooligans under the pretext of a religious pilgrimage to disturb the peace in Mewat.”
“In a fact-finding report titled ‘Beyond The Surface: Exposing Systemic Violence & Police Complicity,’ the Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) reveals that arrests made by the police in connection with the communal clashes on July 31 in Nuh were one-sided, disproportionately targeting Muslims while overlooking potential involvement by Hindus. A total of 393 arrests and 160 First Information Reports (FIRs) have been registered, as reported by The Hindu.” After the violence, 1208 structures were demolished under the pretext of illegal encroachment in Nuh. Since July 31, internet and SMS services have been suspended in the area.
Salman Khalil is a freelance journalist based in Mewat.