A Muslim salesperson was assaulted on Sunday in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore city by a group of men, NDTV reported. 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.
The victim was identified as Tasleem, 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 Rs 10,000, the man said in his complaint, according to NDTV.
In the video, the men can be seen threatening and slapping Tasleem 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.
Based on Tasleem’s complaint, the police have lodged a First Information Report against unidentified people and have arrested three men involved the incident, NDTV reported. The charges in the FIR include rioting, assault, robbery, intimidation and trying to disturb communal harmony.
“Around 2.30 pm [on Sunday] five-six people came [and] asked my name and started beating me up when I told them,” Tasleem said in his complaint, according to The Quint. “They snatched Rs 10,000 in cash, my mobile phone, my Aadhaar card and other documents and also robbed me of bangles worth about Rs 25,000.”
Tasleem said that the accused verbally abused him, pelted stones at him, and strangulated him.
“The accused are being identified through the video,” Ashutosh Bagri, superintendent of police (Indore East), told ANI. “Stringent action will be taken against them.”
Police have also urged people to refrain from putting up and sharing communal posts.
After the incident, a group of protestors gathered outside the Kotwali police station in Indore, demanding action against the accused, according to NDTV. However, the police have booked some of the protestors for allegedly disturbing communal harmony, The Quint reported.
Minister claims he used Hindu name
Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra claimed that the 25-year-old man was using a Hindu name to sell his bangles in the area, NDTV reported.
“He was using a Hindu name, though he belonged to a different community,” Mishra claimed, according to NDTV. “He also had two different Aadhaar cards... He was selling bangles which our daughters wear and apply henna during saawan [Hindu month during monsoon season]... That’s how the altercation started.”
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.