A group of men thrashed a Muslim boy at Mumbai’s Bandra Terminus railway station saying that he went out with a Hindu girl. The assault took place in July and videos of it were shared widely on social media on Tuesday.
The videos show the men dragging the boy outside the railway station and beating him up while shouting “Jai Shri Ram” and “love jihad band karo [stop love jihad]”.
“Love jihad” is a debunked Hindutva conspiracy theory that Muslim men lure Hindu women into romantic relationships in order to convert them to Islam.
The videos show the girl pleading with the assaulters to not beat him up.
The group of men first assaulted the boy and then took him to the Nirmal Nagar police station in Bandra.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Dikshit Gedam on Wednesday told Scroll that the incident occurred on July 21. “We came across the said video[s] yesterday,” he said. “Since the incident began at the railway station, we have notified the GRP [Government Railway Police] to look into it.”
The official said that the police have not registered a complaint in the matter since the Government Railway Police has jurisdiction over it.
Sandip Bhajibhakre, the deputy commissioner of the Government Railway Police, said his team was notified about the viral videos on Tuesday. “We have started the process of registering an offence,” he said. “Till now, no FIR [first information report] has been registered.”
A police officer from the Nirmal Nagar police station told Scroll that the girl and boy had eloped from their home in Ambarnath in Thane district a day or two before the incident. Following this, a case of kidnapping was registered against the boy.
“The family came to know that they were planning to board a train and leave Mumbai,” the officer said.
The family of the girl then reached the Bandra Terminus railway station with a few men. It is, however, unclear if the mob that assaulted the boy belonged to a particular organisation.
“A team of Ambernath Police reached the Nirmal nagar police station and asked for custody of the two,” the officer told Scroll. “The on-duty officer handed over the custody after the proper procedure. We have now asked the GRP to update us on the status of the assault case on the boy.”
The Government Railway Police is yet to identify the accused persons and question them.
Zeeshan Siddique, the local MLA and Mumbai Youth Congress president, said he has urged the police to conduct a proper investigation.
Samajwadi Party MLA from Bhiwandi (East) Rais Shaikh also urged the authorities to verify the videos and take appropriate action.
“Deeply disturbed by the horrifying incident at Bandra Terminus,” he said. “Violence and hate have no place in our society. Such acts of violence based on religion or any other pretext are unacceptable.”