Muslim man in MP abused, beaten, paraded for asking for box of mobile phone, claims religion-based hate; police term it 'scuffle'
A 20-year-old Muslim youth was beaten up, verbally abused and paraded by the owner of a mobile shop in Madhya Pradesh's Kurawar for asking for the original box of a mobile phone
A 20-year-old Muslim youth was beaten up, verbally abused and paraded by an attendant in a mobile phone shop in Madhya Pradesh for asking for the original box of a mobile phone
Sameer, the complainant, said that the shop attendant mocked and passed religion-specific remarks, and beat him with batons and empty cold drink bottles
The main accused and three others have been arrested, however, the police has ruled out the possibilty of hate-crime in the case
There is no mention of hate crime or religious-based slurs in the complaint either, the police said
Rajgarh, Madhya Pradesh: Just less than a week after the horrific incident of hate crime in Madhya Pradesh’s Seoni district where a Hindu man was beaten and forced to thrash his Muslim friends, including a woman, another alleged hate crime related incident surfaced in the state’s Rajgarh district recently.
A 20-year-old Muslim youth was beaten up and verbally abused by a group of men belonging to another religion on 28 May.
The victim identified as Sameer Ullah, a resident of village Kotri-Kalan in Kurawar town of Rajgarh district, had gone to buy a new mobile phone at a shop run by Rinku Mishra. According to Sameer, after buying the phone, he asked Rinku for the box of the phone, and that's when things turned ugly as Rinku with some of his friends started hurling communal abuses at him.
The argument turned violent soon as Rinku and three of his friends beat Sameer viciously. Sameer was beaten with batons and empty cold drink bottles.
Sameer is recuperating at a private hospital in the state capital of Bhopal, where he was referred to by the Rajgarh Civil Hospital. Sameer sustained serious injuries on his head and limbs.
Survivor claims religion-based abuse
"I had demanded the right cover box of the mobile phone I purchased. When I told them my name for writing in the receipt, they mocked me and started making religion-specific remarks and when I protested, they started beating me up,” said Sameer when this reporter met him at the hospital.
Sameer also claimed that he was robbed of Rs 76,000, which he had got after selling crops, by the attackers.
Hateem Khan, Sameer’s cousin alleged that his brother was "paraded and beaten across Kurawar like police takes procession of criminals".
"He had just reached to buy a new mobile phone and Rinku started hurling religion-specific abuses at him when he demanded the right box of the new handset," claims Khan.
Sameer was beaten with batons, cold drink bottles and belts inside and outside the shop. He tried to run away, but they chased him down. Following the incident, Sameer with the help of his relatives, reached Kurawar Police Station to lodge a complaint. Post his complaint, an FIR was registered under sections 294, 232, 506 and 34 of the Indian Penal code (IPC).
Rinku, the prime accused in the case, and one more person was arrested on Tuesday night while two others were arrested on Wednesday.
Police deny hate crime angle
However, based on the preliminary investigation, the police, prima facie, ruled out the hate-crime angle in the case, and instead said that it was Sameer who had initiated the clash.
Pradeep Sharma, superintendent of police, Rajgarh district said, "Sameer Ullah had himself reached the Kurawar police station to lodge the FIR. The scuffle started over the box of the mobile phone and it was Sameer Ullah who first slapped Rinku. Following which, Rinku and others thrashed him.”
"I don’t think it’s a case of mob lynching and was just a scuffle as Sameer himself had reached the police station to lodge a complaint," Sharma added.
When asked about the religion-specific abuse as Sameer claimed, Sharma said, “Sameer did not say anything about it while lodging his complaint and without his signature, the FIR could not have been completed."
No counter FIR has been lodged by the second party concerned in the case either.
State government’s apathy towards minorities
Rajgarh is a pocket borough of former chief minister and Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh, who recently lost the Lok Sabha election from Bhopal against BJP’s Sadhvi Pragya Thakur.
Earlier, in February this year, the ruling Congress government in Madhya Pradesh had invoked the National Security Act (NSA) on three Muslim youths hailing from Khandwa district, over alleged involvement in cow slaughter. On 2 February, the Khandwa police had arrested Azam, Nadeem and Shaqil on charges of cow slaughter.
Similar action was taken against two youths — Mehboob Khan and Rodmal Malviya — by the police in Agar-Malwa district on 6 February for illegal transportation of cows. Justifying the action, state home minister Bala Bachchan had said, "The actions will continue if cases of cow killing come to fore."
Former union minister and senior Congress leader, P Chidambaram had disapproved of the NSA action by the Madhya Pradesh government.
The author is Bhopal-based freelance writer and a member of 101Reporters, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters
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