A Muslim salesperson was assaulted on August 22 in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore city by a group of Hindu men.
A widely shared video of the incident showed the man, who sells bangles, being beaten up while some in the mob were also seen taking money out of his pockets.
ये वीडियो अफगानिस्तान का नहीं बल्कि आज इंदौर का है, @ChouhanShivraj जी के सपनों के मध्यप्रदेश में एक चूड़ी बेंचने वाले मुसलमान का सामान लूट कर सरेआम भीड़ से लिंचिंग करवाई जाती है ।@narendramodi जी क्या यही भारत बनाना चाहते थे आप ?
इन आतंकियों पर कार्यवाही कब ? pic.twitter.com/fsA5fLqNaD
— Imran Pratapgarhi (@ShayarImran) August 22, 2021
The victim was identified as Tasleem Ali, a 25-year-old man, who told the police that the men started assaulting him when he told them his name. The assailants also examined his wares and stole INR10,000, the man said in his complaint, according to NDTV.
In the video, the men can be seen threatening and slapping Ali repeatedly. They use derogatory words meant to address Muslims and asked the bangle seller not enter any “Hindu area”.
“Make sure you are never seen in this area…go to your area,” one of the men interrogating him is heard saying. One of them could also be heard asking people standing nearby to rob him and beat him up.
Later, three to four men come forward and mercilessly thrash him.
A police case of rioting, assault, robbery, intimidation and trying to disturb communal harmony was registered on Sunday night reportedly after hundreds of people gathered outside the police station demanding action against the accused.
So far, three out of the 14 accused have been arrested. They were arrested within 24 hours of the incident. Police said they were in the process of identifying other accused.
The accused were produced in court on August 24, which remanded them in jail for seven days.
CASE AGAINST TASNIM ALI, THE VICTIM
However, later on the evening of August 23, a case was filed against Ali under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) on the complaint by the minor daughter of one of the accused.
According to the complaint, Ali came to the girl’s house on Sunday at 2pm to sell bangles, and identified himself as Golu, showing a “half-burnt” Aadhaar card. “We began purchasing bangles from him. As my mother went to fetch money, the bangle-seller looked at me in an indecent way and grabbed my hand, saying ‘I’ll help you wear bangles.’ He also inappropriately touched my cheeks,” the girl alleged in her complaint. She claimed she screamed, and Ali threatened to kill her and ran away, which is when locals apparently chased him. The girl said she was too embarrassed to file the complaint earlier.
However, none of the men seen assaulting Ali on video make any reference to his having misbehaved with any woman or girl; instead, they were upset with him for coming to a “Hindu area” and for not making it clear that he was a Muslim (he apparently used his nickname ‘Bhura’, which is religion-neutral). Some of the men also seemed bent on assaulting him because of “what happened earlier in Bombay Bazaar”, a reference to the August 20 incident in which Muslim men had allegedly molested two Hindu women.
The police have filed a case against Ali under POCSO and IPC sections 420 (cheating) and 471 (using fake documents as real ones), among others. He was detained at Banganga police station for questioning.
The incident came less than a fortnight after members of a Hindutva group checked markets in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar city to ensure that Muslim make-up artists do not apply mehendi on Hindu women.