Representative image of bangles. Photo: sweethaa/Flickr CC BY 2.0
A man selling bangles in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, was savagely thrashed by a bunch of men in full front of the public because he had reportedly supplied a false name. During the assault, which occurred on Sunday, the 25-year-old was also allegedly robbed of $10,000 by his assailants. "If a man hides his name, caste and religion then bitterness comes in," said the state's Home Minister Narottam Mishra, but added that the incident should not be given "communal colour".
"He was using a Hindu name, though he belonged to a different community. He also had two different Aadhaar cards... he was selling bangles which our daughters wear and apply henna during sawan (monsoon)... that's how the altercation started," the minister said.
The victim, known as Tasleem, is shown getting beaten up by a group of men in a crowded street in Indore's Banganga district in a video that has gone viral on social media. As those surrounding him watch, the unidentified men are heard hurling community slurs at him, with none of them attempting to assist the victim.
"Take whatever you want. He should not be seen in this area anymore," a man is heard saying as he takes out bangles from the bag. The speaker further requests that members of the public come out and bash the victim, who is seen being dragged up by his t-shirt by a man from behind.
Later, three to four men rush forward and thrashed him viciously.
"The accused first asked my name and started beating once I revealed it. They also robbed the ₹ 10,000 that I was carrying and broke the bangles and other material that I had," the victim said in his complaint to the police.
Hundreds of people reportedly gathered outside the police station late at night to demand action against the accused for rioting, assault, robbery, intimidation, and attempting to upset social harmony. Within 24 hours of the incident, the three key suspects were apprehended.
The police have urged the public not to respond to the incident's social media posts.
"We would like to urge people not to react to social media posts that are communal in nature. We are also keeping a watch on such social media posts. Stringent action will be taken against them," said Ashutosh Bagri, a senior police officer in Indore East police station.
Meanwhile, the District Collector of Indore said that following the event, certain prohibited organisations were discovered to be disrupting communal harmony in Indore.
"We are keeping a close watch on them. They are under surveillance. It has also been found that activists of Popular Front of India (PFI) and Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) had come to Indore and instigated the youths for such incidents, and a case had been registered against the people who led the protest outside the Central Kotwali police station. Police have been investigating the matter. Some names of PFI and SDPI workers have come forward, a case will be registered against them, too," he said.
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