We did not force kids to eat chocolates or scare them: Mohammed Bashir Afroz

Bidar: Even a week after the lynching in Murki village near Kamalanagar in which his friend and techie from Hyderabad, Mohammed Azam was killed, Mohammed Bashir Afroz and his family in Handikera village bordering Maharashtra remain in a daze.

A textile merchant from Hyderabad, Mr Afroz  belongs to Handikera village  and Azam and his three friends had come to visit him there.

With the incident drawing national attention, the media has been making a  beeline for this remote village, a couple of kilometers from the Maharashtra border.

According to Mr Afroz after lunch on July 13, he took his friends to his fields near the Handikera thanda. “As there is a small check dam built across a nalla nearby,  I wanted to show them that too,”  he added. 

Seeing some students returning from school, his  friend from Qatar, Mohammed Salham-bin-Eid, offered them some chocolates he had on him. “But as we were taking photographs of the check dam, villagers started gathering around us , calling us childlifters. We tried to convince them that we were not. I told them I’m from the nearby Handikera village and Mr Salham showed his identity card. But without listening to us they started attacking us. So I called my uncle, Shaik Mohammed alias Bapuji, who runs a hotel in Handikera village, for help . He rushed to the dam and pleaded with the villagers to hand us over to the police if we were childlifters. But they did not listen and  tried to deflate our car tyres. Then they frisked me and Mr Noor Mohammed, who was injured and my friends fled in their car. But false messages were sent on WhatsApp that three children were being carried in the vehicle and so a blockade was created near Murki village Circle where they were attacked,” Mr Afroz recounted, denying that they had forced the children to accept chocolates or  scared them and made them cry.

He also denied that his friends carried sharp weapons, masks and so on in their  SUV. “We only had some tissue papers, cooking items and a  plastic chair,” he said.

Mr Shaik Mohammed, for his part, feels that if  sufficient police force had arrived on time and opened fire, the mob lynching could have been prevented. “To begin with there were only three or four policemen.  They did not use force or open fire to scare the crowd away. Instead they spent their time pleading with the mob with folded hands,” he regretted. 

“In one of the video clippings we saw even  a man we have leased  our land to, joining the crowd in attacking our people,” he added sadly. 

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