A Muslim man and a Hindu woman who were travelling together in an Ajmer-bound train were forcibly taken off it and assaulted by members of Hindutva group Bajrang Dal last week. The incident took place on January 14, according to The Indian Express, but videos of the assault were shared on social media on Tuesday.
The Bajrang Dal members accused the man, identified as Asif Shaikh, of “love jihad” and handed him and the woman to Government Railway Police in Ujjain station. “Love jihad” is a conspiracy theory espoused by Hindutva groups alleging that Hindu women are forcibly converted by Muslims through marriage.
Shaikh and the woman were made to wait at the police station until their parents arrived and only let off after recording their statements, according to The Indian Express. They told the police that they were family friends and the woman was already married.
In a video shared on social media, Bajrang Dal activists could be seen beating up the man and dragging him out of the train as the woman followed them.
Government Railway Police Superintendent of Police Nivedita Gupta told IANS that Shaikh and the woman were family friends and had known each other for years.
“After they were brought in to the police station by Bajrang Dal men, who alleged ‘love jihad’, we recorded their statements and as they were both adults and there was no offence, they were allowed to go,” said Gupta.
She added that the Bajrang Dal members were not booked as the police did not receive any complaint against them.
Kundan Chandrawat, a local leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad told IANS that they had received “information through reliable sources” that a Muslim man was taking a Hindu woman along with him.
“It is for the protection of our Hindu sisters that our workers intervened,” Chandrawat said. “That is when the man got aggressive. They just took him to the nearest police station.”