A Muslim hawker was allegedly beaten up by two unidentified people in Dewas district of Madhya Pradesh after he failed to show his Aadhaar card, reported India Today on Friday, citing the police. The incident came days after a Muslim salesperson was assaulted on Sunday in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore city for selling bangles in a “Hindu area”.
The police said that the victim, 45-year-old Zahid Khan, was a labourer who also worked as a street vendor to sell biscuits.
Khan was attacked in Borli village, under the jurisdiction of Hatpipliya police station, where two men approached him and asked him for his Aadhaar card.
The police said that after the hawker failed to show the identity proof, they assaulted him. Khan sustained minor injuries on his hands and legs. He said he could identify his attackers.
“Both are residents of Borli village and I have seen them in the village in the past,” Khan told the police.
Khan told NewsClick that he was attacked because of his religious identity. “I was selling eatables in a Hindu-dominated area,” he said. “They also looted Rs 900 cash from me.”
The vendor alleged that the men used religious slurs and attacked him with a belt and sticks.
“They were beating me, saying teri himmat kaise hui mere gaon me ghusne ki [how dare you enter our village] and stopped only after I fell unconscious upon the villagers’ intervention,” he said, according to the First Information Report. “They threatened to kill me if I entered the village again before leaving the spot.”
The police have filed a case under sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 294 (using obscene language) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
In his complaint, Khan said that many village residents had come to the spot during the incident and were witnesses. However, the police said that they were trying to verify Khan’s claims as villagers said they were not aware of the incident, according to the Hindustan Times.
Inspector of Hatpipliya police station Sajjain Singh Mukati told NewsClick that the accused have been identified. “They hail from Indore and had come to visit their in-laws in the village,” he said. “A team has been sent to their home to get further details and arrest them.”
On Sunday, 25-year-old Tasleem Ali was attacked after he told his name to the assailants. A video of the incident showed the men using derogatory words meant to address Muslims and asking the bangle seller not enter any “Hindu area”.
He was also robbed of Rs 10,000, Ali said in his complaint. On Monday, three persons were arrested for assaulting Ali. On the same day, the police in Indore booked Ali on charges of forgery, fraud and molestation of a minor.
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra had claimed that the 25-year-old man was using a Hindu name to sell his bangles in the area and had two different identity cards.
On Tuesday, the bangle seller was arrested on charges of sexual harassment.