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All the Hindus and Muslims in this Haryana village are in on a terrible secret

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Villagers of Titoli, which has a majority Jat population, deny reports that its Muslim members were asked to get rid of religious identity markers.

Titoli, Rohtak: The village of Titoli in Haryana is keeping a secret, and around 550 people are in on it.

After it was reported Thursday that the majority Jat population in the village held a meeting in which they ordered all members of the Muslim community to get rid of their religious identity markers, nearly all villagers — Hindu and Muslim — are denying that such a decision was ever taken.

These facts are not in question: The village held a panchayat meeting Tuesday on the grounds of the government school in Titoli. Approximately 550 people from all castes, religions and communities attended. The arrest of Yameen, a 22-year-old Muslim boy, last month on the allegation of killing a calf was discussed.

Reports, however, suggest the Muslim residents of the village were asked at the meeting to refrain from wearing any skull caps, growing their beard long, or offering namaz in any public space. The Muslims were asked to keep Hindu names.

It was also decided that the large piece of land in the heart of the village, originally designated as the Muslim cemetery, would be taken over by the local panchayat and a separate plot on the outskirts of the area would be re-allotted for the same.


Also read: Kidnappings double, rape cases up as Haryana sees sharp rise in crimes against women


As pressure from local authorities mounted, Titoli residents are now claiming that there is no truth to the reports and the meeting was called only to make peace.

‘No issue between Hindu and Muslims’ 

On Thursday, at least 20 Hindu village elders in Titoli chose Pandit Ganga Shastri to speak to ThePrint on their behalf.

“There is no issue between Hindu and Muslims in this village. The panchayat was called by them (the Muslims) only to apologise and make peace for the killing of the calf that happened a month ago,” Shastri told ThePrint.

The elders supported his statement, folded their hands and asked ThePrint to “not cause any trouble by asking unnecessary questions”.

On being asked if Yameen’s family still lives here, a village elder first said no and then said yes. Similar confusion ensued when the men were asked about the whereabouts of Rajbir, the Muslim village elder.

“There is no Rajbir here,” at least five of them said, followed by, “Just tell her where Rajbir is, it’s fine.”

Shastri followed ThePrint’s car, opened the door and got inside. “You’re going to twist the story to suit your headlines. There is no issue here, and you will make an issue. It’s best if you leave,” he said before getting out.

The Muslim man with a Hindu name

Rajbir does exist.

He has a shop set up near the dilapidated pond further inside the lanes of Titoli. He too said the panchayat was called by the Muslim community to reaffirm brotherhood with the Hindus.

“My father’s name was Ratan, my nephew’s names are Mahavir and Sagar. The Muslims in this area have had Hindu names since a very long time, perhaps even before partition,” he told ThePrint.

Rajbir said the Muslim community never followed the practice of reading namaz in this village “because most people are uneducated.” “We never kept long beards either, so this diktat being reported can’t be true,” he said.

The Muslim village elder Rajbir | Nandita Singh/ ThePrint

“We even donated Rs 11,000 to the local gaushala (cow shelter) on behalf of the community. If there was fear among us, why would we do that?” he asked.

Rajbir also said the Muslim community understood the need to move the cemetery as it used to be on the outskirts, but the city had grown around it over time.

‘It’s all true’

Two women in the village, however, told a different story, and they spoke only when the men were not present.

“There is a lot of pressure on us, but nobody will talk because everyone is scared. We started reading the namaz in a small area about a year ago, but all of that stopped after the calf-killing last month,” a 25-year-old woman told ThePrint on condition of anonymity.

The woman said when she came back from the farm around 3 pm on the day of the meeting, all the Muslim houses were locked and nobody could say a thing.

“It’s all true,” she added, “they’ve stopped us from reading the namaz and men from keeping beards. The one man who used to wear a skull cap has also left out of fear.”

Titoli village | Nandita Singh/ ThePrint

The woman said the killing was a retaliatory act, after the calf attacked Yameen’s niece on her way to school. “But since the incident took place on the day of Bakra Eid, they accused us of killing and eat the meat,” she said.

Yameen was arrested for the death of the calf on 23 August and is currently in jail. A mob reportedly attacked his family over the allegations.

Another 22-year-old woman in the village said the Muslim community was being made to slowly erase itself. “If you ask them to let go of their traditions, will they? Then why should we?” said the woman who did not wish to be named.

Both the women expressed fear of being targeted if their identities were revealed.

The police version 

Titoli police post assistant sub-inspector Nafre Singh said he wasn’t present at the panchayat meeting and only learned of it the next day.

“There are no tensions between Hindu and Muslims as such,” said Singh, adding that he didn’t know what happened at the meeting.

Rajbir, however, places him at the meeting. “No police was there as such except Titoli post in-charge Nafre,” he said.


Also read: Jat woman who married Dalit shot dead outside Rohtak court, 4 of family held


Jashandeep Singh Randhawa, superintendent of police, Rohtak, told ThePrint that the facts being reported in the press are incorrect. “The Muslim community called the panchayat themselves to restore peace and brotherhood to the community, and no such diktat about beards or skull caps was issued.”

The misinformation, according to Randhawa, was probably spread by “2-3 trouble-making elements that wanted to create enmity by speaking to the press.”

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I wonder if the print will ever visit mewat region, where Muslims literally ran out hindus. An area which has become exclusively muslim.

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