Jaipur: At least 200 Muslims have fled their village in Rajasthan, following tension over the killing of a folk singer, police have said.
They are now living in a shelter for the homeless in Jaisalmer, a major town in the northwestern Indian state.
Trouble erupted on September 27 in Dantal, a village near the Ind-Pakistan border when a local priest accused folk singer Ahmad Khan, a Muslim, of making mistakes while reciting hymns to evoke a Hindu goddess.
The priest and his friends allegedly killed the singer two weeks ago, ndtv.com reported.
Khan, 45, was a member of the Langa Manganiyar community. The priest, Ramesh Suthar, accused Khan of not singing well enough, which meant that he was not able to harness supernatural powers of healing.
Khan belongs to the community that makes a living singing Hindu religious songs and spiritual verses in temples and at festivals.
The police say the priest and his two brothers then killed Khan. The priest has been arrested but his brothers are missing.
“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.
The 20 Muslim families, who left the village, have refused to return home- priests are powerful local entities who draw some of their influence from the accepted belief of their supernatural powers.
“We are being threatened. We fear for our lives we will not return to our village now,” said Chugga Khan, the dead musician’s brother.
District Collector K C Meena says the administration is trying for a dialogue between the two communities so that they can resolve the issues.