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Muslim singer's murder in Rajasthan evokes outrage

 Jaipur, Oct 11: A fortnight after a Muslim folk singer was murdered in a Rajasthan village, the exodus of several families of that community from the area has invited severe criticism from the civil society. “What is the administration doing? A whole community of 200 people had to move out of the village to exile,” People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) said in a statement. The trouble started after Ahmad Khan, a Langa Maganiyar, was allegedly murdered by a local faith healer on September 27, in Danta village in Jaisalmer district.

On that day, faith healer Ramesh Suthar had asked Khan to sing a particular “raaga” to induce a temple goddess’ spirit to enter the former’s body. When his purpose failed, Suthar blamed Khan for singing poorly. Suthar, along with others allegedly assaulted Khan. They also warned the victim’s family not to file a police complaint.
On October 5, the police arrested Suthar while two others are still absconding. “We have arrested the main culprit and launched an investigation,” a police officer told IANS. “We are ready to live under open skies and under no circumstances want to go back to our village. We want government to give us full protection, provide us facilities so that we can live here in Jaisalmer. They should arrest all responsible for the murder,” Khan said.
Meanwhile, the PUCL has condemned the incident. In a statement Kavita Srivastava, Rajasthan president of PUCL said: “The kind of lawlessness in the state, such brutal aggression by dominant castes; lynching of an untouchable by the dominant castes and other castes actively supporting the killers as he is a ojha (faith healer) is deplorable.” Srivastava said: “They are an already impoverished community. Despite being the nation’s heritage for their incredible music, they are not given support and often end up as labourers in the city.” (IANS)