Haryana: Fear Grips Panipat as Hindu Groups Target Muslim Shops 

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Armed assailants caused extensive damage and left the affected shop owners in fear for their safety and uncertain about resuming their businesses.

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — Armed Hindu groups on motorbikes launched a targeted attack on shops owned by local Muslims in Panipat in the volatile state of Haryana on Sunday evening.

The incident took place in the wake of recent communal clashes that rocked Nuh, Gurugram and other cities of the state. 

In Panipat, the violent attack saw perpetrators forcibly entering the market, brandishing swords and knives, and subjecting traders to threats and intimidation. The assailants looted cash and caused extensive property damage, leaving some shop owners with no choice but to vacate their premises under duress, media reports reaching here said.

Panipat, a historic as well as planned industrial city in Haryana, is 95 km north of New Delhi. The city is famous as the “City of Weavers” and “Textile City” and is also home to a variety of manufacturing industries including wool and cotton milling, saltpetre refining, and the manufacture of glass, electrical appliances, and other products.

Sunday’s violent spree spanned three different locations in the district, namely Krishna Garden, Ujha Gate, and Indo Farm Road, causing widespread fear among local residents. 

Prompt action by the authorities led to the arrest of 15 suspects allegedly involved in the attack. Investigations are actively underway, with law enforcement analysing surveillance footage and eyewitness testimonies to identify additional culprits and trace the source of the weapons used during the assault.

Among those impacted by the attack, Mohammad Nihal, a meat shop owner, spoke of the terrifying atmosphere that prompted him to temporarily close his business in fear for his family’s safety. The incident left Abdul Wahid, a cleric, deeply traumatised, leading him to seek refuge for children inside a mosque during the onslaught, The Hindu reported.

It said the attackers not only destroyed livelihoods but also engaged in religious coercion, forcing Muslim men to chant religious slogans. One victim, Mohammad Ahtasham, helplessly surrendered cash and witnessed the destruction of his livelihood. The incident has left affected shop owners in a state of profound fear, with many uncertain about the prospect of resuming their businesses due to concerns of potential future attacks.

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Photo: Shops vandalised in Panipat on Sunday evening. 

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