You may not miss the vestigial aggression in 73-year-old Yameen Khan’s voice even if the body is refusing to keep up. He must have been quite a toughie in his salad days, but is mellow as he recounts, sitting in his house in Delhi’s Nihal Vihar, the sequence of events that transpired on Bakr-Eid, August 22. “We sacrificed buffaloes in the mosque premises, as has been the norm for the past several years. We had police permission and a policeman was also stationed outside. Later, at the time of the evening prayer, a 300-strong mob gathered outside the mosque, accusing us of slaughtering a cow,” says Khan, who, along with his six sons, is engaged in furniture and property business.
The local MLA who tried to intervene was also threatened. The mob dispersed when the police arrived, but returned thrice bigger during the next prayer, later in the evening, raising slogans and allegedly pelting stones. “Eid kahaan, Moharram (month of mourning in Shiite Islam) ho gaya,” says Khan, sipping tea in a living room with its red wallpaper coming off. “Most families left for their hometowns and the rest didn’t venture outside their homes. Never has such a thing happened before in the 30 years I have been here. Every year, nearly 200 Hindus would come and eat at my house on Eid. This year, none came. Under the Narendra Modi government, Muslims find themselves weak and the police do not support us. Although the police acted fairly in this case, but you never know when they might get contrary orders from the top. As the RSS controls the government, if its men identify a goat as a cow, the police will treat it as a cow. I don’t like tea ever since I had to sell my cow out of fear that anyone seen with one these days can be killed. My tea used to be made with its milk.”