Indore: Two days after being brutally assaulted for selling bangles in the Hindu area in Madhya Pradesh’s Govidnagar Indore, a Muslim man has been booked by the police on charges of “harassment”.
In a video that went viral on social media, the 25-year-old Tasleem Ali was seen being brutally assaulted by Hindu men for entering into a Hindu-dominated locality and selling bangles there.
Police later detained three Hindu men over assaulting Ali. The assaulters had also threatened Ali not to enter the ‘Hindu locality’ again.
However, on a complaint by the minor daughter of one of the accused, Ali was booked on Monday evening under IPC Sections 354 (assault or criminal force on a woman), 354-A (sexual harassment), 467, 468, 471 (forgery), 420 (cheating) and 506 (criminal intimidation), along with under POCSO, Indian Express reported.
Ali’s younger brother Jamal Ali told The Indian Express that police had taken him away at 5 pm and he had not returned till Monday night.
“Officials from Banganga Police Station came to Musafirkhana where we are staying and told us Tasleem needed to be taken for some formalities and would be back in an hour. He isn’t back even five hours later, and we are not able to contact him,” the report quoted Jamal as saying.
Amid protests by a Muslim organisation over delay in registration of an FIR in the attack on Ali, Home Minister Narottam Mishra told the media in Bhopal Monday, “As per the report of the Home Department, the man was selling bangles using a Hindu name while he was from some other religion. There were two Aadhaar cards on him.” He added, “There is a ritual of women wearing bangles during saawan… the issue between two sides started from there.”
A father of five from Uttar Pradesh’s Hardoi district, Ali told The Indian Express earlier Monday that he buys bangles from Jaipur and has been coming to Indore for six years to sell them during Rakhi, with around 40 others from his village. He went to the Indore locality where he was attacked for the first time.
“As soon as I called out for buyers, a man grabbed me and asked my name. First, I told him ‘Bhura’, the name on my voter ID card. When he asked if I was a Muslim and I said yes, he again asked for my name. I hesitated and then said, Tasleem.
He started beating me up, asking how I could come to their area. He called some other people and they too hit me… They said how had I come to the locality despite being a Muslim, and that I was misbehaving with their mother and sisters,” Ali said, adding that residents of the area looked on.
Ali denied he had two Aadhaar cards, as claimed in the FIR, or had tried to hide his identity. He said ‘Bhura’, the name on his voter ID card, was his nickname, while his formal name was on the Aadhaar card.
In the video, a man can be seen taking out bangles from Tasleem’s bag and offering them to people, as another holds him by the collar and hits him, while he pleads with them to let him go.
When the men urge those in the crowd to hit Ali too, four people come forward, and land blows, while abusing him.
Ali said the men broke his cellphone, and took the approximately Rs 10,000 cash on him as well as his bags containing bangles worth Rs 25,000.
“They only stopped when a man asked who would be responsible if I died in front of his house. I fled and went straight to the police station,” The Indian Express quoted Ali as saying.
According to Ali, police didn’t take anything down but sent two constables with him to the locality. Ali said residents told police that Bajrang Dal men had beaten him up for no fault of his.
“One of the people showed police the video of the attack. They then went to the house of one of the attackers. He handed over my money and belongings.”
An FIR was only registered at 11 pm Sunday against unidentified people, at Indore’s Central Kotwali Police Station.
Police also registered a case against three members of the Muslim Nuamainda Committee that gheraoed the police station Sunday, on charges of wrongful restraint, rioting, use of obscene words, and criminal intimidation. While police claimed a ruckus was created at the police station and the protest was organized by “anti-social elements”, the Committee said they were protesting peacefully demanding an FIR over the attack on Ali, the report said.
This was the second incident in the past week where Muslim merchants and salesmen were assaulted by Hindu right-wing groups and were not allowed to enter ‘Hindu localities.”
Last week in Uttar Pradesh, members of the Hindutva group Kranti Sena conducted ‘surprise checks’ at a Muzzaffarnagar market to ensure that no Muslim man applies mehendi (henna) on the hands of Hindu women on the occasion of Hariyali Teej.