state news

Bengaluru: 10 men assault Kashmiri brothers allegedly for not speaking Kannada, two arrested

The brothers told the police they were beaten up after they could not answer a question the attackers’ asked in Kannada.

The Bengaluru Police on Tuesday arrested two of the 10 men accused of assaulting two brothers from Jammu and Kashmir in Bengaluru allegedly because they could not speak Kannada, PTI reported. Officers arrested the duo using CCTV footage.

The men had beat up a 24-year-old student of hotel management and his older brother and damaged their vehicle near North Bengaluru’s Sanjay Nagar locality. The brothers were attacked when they were on their way home in their car. They stopped near a bus stand to take a phone call when four men on two bikes stopped next to them, the Bangalore Mirror reported.

According to the police, the men asked the brothers a question in Kannada. When the brothers said they did not know the language, the accused allegedly said they will only let the brothers go till they spoke in Kannada. They gathered a few others, who were at the bus stop, and assaulted the Kashmiri brothers.

“They surrounded us, asking us to speak in Kannada,” Lisan Ahmed, the student, told the Bangalore Mirror. “The gang attacked us with stones and also damaged our car.”

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti demanded strict action against the attackers on Tuesday. “Very disturbed by the news of two brothers from Kashmir being assaulted in Bengaluru,” she said on Twitter. “I urge authorities to take strict action against the accused.”

This is not the first attack against non-Kannada speakers in Karnataka. In September, local organisations in the state’s Kalaburagi and Hubballi cities protested against Telugu students sitting for a banking examination and pelted stones at the exam centre, alleging that aspirants from Andhra Pradesh were taking away their jobs.

Earlier in 2017, Hindi signboards on the city’s metro railway were blackened, after which Chief Minister Siddaramaiah asked the Centre to redesign the signboards to carry only Kannada and English.

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