200 Muslims Flee Rajasthan Village After Muslim Folk Singer Killed

NEW DELHI:  After a Hindu priest and his friends allegedly killed a Muslim folk singer a few weeks ago, at least 200 Muslims have fled their village in Rajasthan, the police said yesterday.

Trouble erupted in Dantal village near the border with Pakistan on September 27, when a local priest accused folk singer Ahmad Khan of making mistakes while reciting hymns to evoke a Hindu goddess.

Mr Khan, 45, was a member of the Langa Manganiyar community that has been singing Hindu religious songs and spiritual verses in temples and at festivals for generations. The priest suggested changes to the hymn, leading to an argument.

Police said the priest, Ramesh Suthar, and his friends then broke Mr Khan’s musical instruments and killed him.

"The news of the murder triggered unrest between Hindus and Muslims who have been living together for generations,” said Gaurav Yadav, a senior police officer investigating the case.

rajasthan muslim folk singer

Ahmad Khan had been singing Hindu religious songs and spiritual verses in temples for generations

He did not say how Mr Khan was killed, but said the priest has been arrested. The priest’s accomplices have fled, Mr Yadav said.

Two of Mr Suthar’s family members said he was in shock and refused to talk about the case.

"For one small mistake, the Hindus killed my brother,” said Rakha Khan, the dead singer’s cousin. "We can’t live in the same village ever again.”

Rakha Khan said they have sought refuge in a school and that the state government office and other local authorities were providing them with food.

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