An elderly Muslim man was beaten up allegedly by two men and forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” in Karnataka’s Koppal district, The New Indian Express reported.

The police filed a first information report on Thursday based on a complaint by the man, Husensab.

The man alleged that on November 25, the two accused men assaulted him at an isolated place when he was returning to Gangavati town from Hosapete city. He alleged that the men subsequently took his money, tried to cut his beard with shards of a broken beer bottle, and set his beard on fire, reported the Deccan Herald.

“I pleaded that I could not see clearly and wanted to go back to my house,” Husensab said. “They forced me to chant Jai Shriram and despite doing it they did not stop attacking me.”

The complainant said that the men were trying to hit his head with a stone when shepherds in the neighbourhood came to his rescue.

The police said that the attack appeared to have been a robbery rather than a communal attack.

“While there are scratch marks on his back and other injury marks on his face, there are no signs of him being assaulted by a bottle,” Koppal Superintendent of Police Yashodha Vantagodi said, according to the Deccan Herald. “This looks more like an assault for money than communal reasons. We have not ruled out anything and investigations are on.”