‘On I-Day I was told you are a Muslim, I can kill you and get away with it’: Jamia student on alleged assault

Daud Arif in a Facebook live video

In a hate-crime incident, a mass communication student from Jamia Millia Islamia was allegedly assaulted by a few drunk men on Wednesday at his residence. Daud Arif, in a very emotional Facebook video said that the neighbours, during their usual party routine on the roof outside his room had consumed alcohol and urinated outside his door.

Deciding that confronting them would not be the best option and might lead to a fight, he went to the landlord and requested him to intervene.

When both reached the scene and the landlord had asked the men, who were blood-relatives, to not cause such a commotion, one of the men accused Daud of ratting them out in front of his relative and threatened him by saying, “You’re a Muslim, aren’t you? I can kill you and get away with it.”

The incident took place in the Muslim majority area of New Delhi, Okhla.

Daud, while breaking down in the video commented on the irony of the situation, for it was Independence Day of India, yet he felt vulnerable and unsafe. The men according to Daud, cornered him at the roof’s edge while continuously hurling death threats.

“They were about to push me off the roof,” he said, while crying. He then begged for mercy and told them he would apologize. When the landlord intervened, one the men, who was the landlord’s nephew slapped the landlord, because, Daud says, ‘he was defending me’.

He then called the police control room for immediate intervention, but got no response until 42 minutes. The police later defended themselves by saying that they were busy with the Independence Day preparations.

One of those drunk men yelled at Daud and said, “We won’t let you live here.”

Daud then asked the landlord to stay there as he would grab his essentials and report the same to the police. The landlord refuted his claims, by stating that the men were ‘just drunk’ and assured him that ‘nothing would happen’.

“I told him you’re like a father figure to me but the incident happened right in front of you. This is an open threat,” Daud said in the video.

Daud then, after packing his essentials, went to the police station and asked them to file a report, citing that he still had faith in the system. Although the police were willing to register an FIR, they advised him not to file one as it would complicate and lengthen the whole process. At that time, most of his friends had arrived after his Facebook post and advised the same. He was then offered a place to stay by them.

“The police asked me what I wanted and I said two things: make a note of whatever has taken place, and provide me protection when I move out from that place,” he said. The police agreed.

“Today is Independence Day, and I don’t feel safe,” he emphasized throughout the whole video. He ended the video by saying that the assaulter was a B.Com graduate and worked at American Express, a reputable courier service in Gurgaon.

“When we say the crowd is not ‘literate’, that is not the case now,” he said. “The hate crime is not only confined to the outskirts and its not a myth. It has spread everywhere. It’s real.”

“If he had pushed me off the roof, I would’ve died. Its not about me dying alone. Its about the fact that he hates me because I am a Muslim. A form of hate has developed within him against me.”

Daud said that he would move out from the place within two days.

Scrolling down the comments, one Karan Prashant Saxena was apologetic. “I am sorry about what happened. I am a resident of Delhi for 25 years, and I hate what this city is turning into. You are right – “Hate crime is real.” My apologies, perhaps, not mean much – but being a part of this city, I feel I owe you one. I am sorry. I am really sorry. Peace on to you brother, and everyone! Inshallah, we all will get through this together, one day. Spread love, always,” read his comment.

Just two days before August 15, Daud, reacting on the attack on Umar Khalid, Daud, while wishing I-Day in advance, had posted that ‘today it was Umar, tomorrow it can be me.’

Hate crime against minorities especially Muslims and Dalits are on a rise in India. Last year, in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district a Muslim man was brutally beaten, then hacked and burnt alive.

The incident was captured on video and the criminal,  Shambhulal Regar  told the police that he wanted to kill another Muslim man but ended up killing Mohammed Afrazul, a migrant labourer, resident of West Bengal’s Malda.

However, Over 500 people collected Rs 3 Lakh in support of Regar and the police had to freeze the particular account.

ALSO READ: Why rewarding Rajasthan psychopath highlights an existential crisis for Indian Muslims

Recently, a video surfaced on social media networks in which a Kashmiri woman was being beaten up by a mob in India’s capital, New Delhi. It was reported that she was beaten up for ‘feeding stray dogs’.

However, the brother of the victim, who was also targeted told Free Press Kashmir that they were beaten up because of their identity, that they are Kashmiris.

ALSO READ: Hate Crime: ‘We were beaten up for being Kashmiris, my sister’s clothes were torn’

Just a day after this incident involving the Kashmiri family residing in New Delhi was thrashed by a mob, a Kashmiri businessman Hakim Saamir was beaten up by goons in his office Manali, Himachal Pradesh.

Apart from hate crimes, mobs have lynched many people to death on allegations of cow smuggling. The victims, in almost every case, has been a Muslim.

Rationalists and journalists have also been in the line of fire.

Last year, Gauri Lankesh, a senior Kannada journalist known for her criticism of Hindu extremism, was shot dead at her home. Lankesh, 55, was the daughter of famous poet-turned-journalist P Lankesh. She was the editor of Gauri Lankesh Patrike, writing often against Sangh organisations and communal violence in the country.

Recently, the SIT probing the case suspects that four top-level leaders of a pro-Hindutva outfit were the ones who conceived the plot to kill her and other rationalists, the news minute reported.

According to the report, it has been revealed that the six accused in the case were the executors of the murder plot and investigators have launched a hunt for four more persons connected to the murder.

“There is a suspicion that a retired Army Colonel, who became a member of a pro-Hindutva outfit is one of the four men who hatched the plot,” the SIT source added.

In August 2015, scholar, rationalist and teacher M.M. Kalburgi was shot dead at his home in the north Karnataka town of Dharwad for his views against the Hindutva brigade.

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