Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut was tense after a mob of Hindu Yuva Vahini activists on Tuesday allegedly beat up some Muslim men who reportedly had harassed a girl, The Times of India reported. The mob also allegedly attacked a journalist who was covering the incident.
The state is already on edge after communal clashes broke out on Republic Day in Kasganj, which is around 200 km from Meerut.
After the journalist filed a complaint, the police detained Hindu Yuva Vahini state secretary Nagendra Tomar. Several other members of the group who were also involved in the incident were detained, according to a report in Amar Ujala.
The police said the mob claimed one, Zahid Khan, was harassing a girl from another community. Tomar reportedly led the mob that beat up the four men in Mohanpuri area.
Tomar, however, claimed they only wanted to hand the four men over to the police, but “unidentified people in our group tried to rough them up”.
Khan’s family said he and the girl have been friends for years. They told the girl’s family they were being framed in the harassment case.
“There was some misunderstanding between the two of them, and this was seen as harassment by the right-wing groups,” Khan’s older brother Sarik told The Times of India. “The two families wanted to sit together and settle the matter.”
Superintendent of Police Maan Singh Chauhan said the activists had “no right to take laws in their hand”, and added that action will be taken once they receive a complaint.