While BJP worker Chandrashekar Kulai rushed an injured Basheer to hospital, Deepak Rao’s employer, Abdul Majid, was the first to respond after Deepak Rao was attacked.

Men who first responded to Dakshina Kannada violence victims reject hatredPicture from Deepak Rao's residence
news Violence Saturday, January 06, 2018 - 18:51

By Wednesday evening, news of Deepak Rao’s death had spread across Dakshina Kannada.

WhatApp forwards of pictures of Deepak, who was affiliated with the Bharatiya Janata Party in Katipalla, and was hacked to death earlier in the week, were shared far and wide triggering a cycle of violence which saw two others, Basheer and Mubashir, attacked the same day.

This incident brought Dakshina Kannada’s contentious history of communal violence to the fore, but dig a little deeper and things may not quite be as they seem.

When Deepak was waylaid and hacked to death by a gang of four, the first person to rush to his family’s aid was his employer, Abdul Majid. “I worked with him for seven years. We sell SIM cards in a small area and often divide work between us. He would ply half the route, and I would work in the other half,” said Abdul.

Deepak's nature of work required him to frequent Muslim-dominated areas in Krishnapura, and his fluency with the local Beary dialect, spoken by Muslim communities, made him an asset to his employer.

"He used to speak to me in this language and I could not distinguish (him from a Muslim). If there was any festival in my house, we would call him over and if there was a pooja in his, he would invite us. We were friends,” said Abdul, who broke down during the television interview he gave in the aftermath of the incident.

Dakshina Kannada has been in the news before for communal incidents, but Abdul believes that it is only a few people who create trouble. “Maybe a few people indulge in communal violence, but most people in Dakshina Kannada are not like this. I have many Hindu friends and I do not have any ill-feeling towards them. I find these murders to be strange,” added Abdul.

A few hours after news of Deepak’s killing spread, 47-year-old Basheer was attacked by a gang wielding lethal weapons in Kottara Chowki, Mangaluru.

A crowd quickly gathered around Basheer’s still body, but it was Chandrashekar Kulai, an ambulance driver and a yuva karyakarta with the BJP's North Mangalore division, who rushed Basheer to hospital.

“They (the people in the crowd) were afraid of touching him. They were standing there and waiting for the police to arrive. I looked at it from a human point of view. I did not think too much. I just took him in my ambulance and brought him to AJ Hospital,” Chandrashekar recounted.

Chandrashekhar too is perplexed by the number of communal incidents taking place in the district and said that innocent people are losing their lives. “I knew Basheer's family. I have played kabbadi with his son and the father was not involved in anything political, but innocent people like him are being hurt in this hatred,” he said.

He also pointed out that the media’s portrayal of the incidents do not corroborate with what he sees on the ground in the district. “People outside are being misled. It is true that incidents have happened and when an incident happens, there are sudden reactions from people and this is adding to the general fear. We should respond with friendship and love,” said Chandrashekar.

 

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