A Dalit youth was brutally beaten with sticks and kicked around by a group of three men in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar, after being forced to chant Jai Mata Di, according to media reports.
A video clip of the assault went viral on social media, after which the police lodged an FIR and launched a manhunt, The Indian Express reported.
"We are speaking to the victim and his family members, and the accused have been identified as three-four Gujjar residents of the area. The incident took place in the Purkazi police station area," the report quoted a senior police official as saying.
The FIR was registered under Indian Penal Code sections 307 (attempt to murder), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), sections of the SC/ST Act, and IT Act, the report added.
PTI reported that the case was registered against accused Rahul, Dhiraj, Jodha and Kaku, who were absconding, according to the police.
A fourth member of the group recorded the video. The clip shot on Sunday showed a man wearing a black helmet lying on the ground and being beaten and asked to chant Jai Mata Di.
"We do not criticise your Ambedkar, do we? Why did you do it to ours?" the men are heard saying, Zee News reported.
The assault might have been in retaliation to an incident last month when a group of Dalits had gone door-to-door in a village throwing out pictures and idols of gods and goddesses from Dalit homes, and replacing them with photographs of Bhim Rao Ambedkar, NDTV reported.
The victim of the assault, who is currently in the hospital, was allegedly one of the four people involved, the report added.
A day after the assault, the Shahid Udham Singh Sena on Tuesday threatened to launch an agitation in Muzaffarnagar if the police failed to arrest the accused by Wednesday.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Jan 17, 2018 12:50:11 IST