Suspected right-wing activists were caught on camera assaulting a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut in the presence of a policeman, NDTV reported on Thursday. This comes Two days after three police personnel were suspended following a clip that showed them harassing a woman for visiting the Muslim man’s home.
The 50-second video shows the man, in a blue shirt, standing outside his home, surrounded by suspected Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists. “Padhai kar rahe ho ki love jihad kar rahe ho [Are you studying or doing love jihad?]?” asks one of the men while another is heard saying: “Ek ek ko chun ke maarenge hum [Will pick each one out and beat them]”. Then, three people start assaulting the Muslim man and the policeman is heard saying: “Arre bas [Enough now]”.
“Love jihad” is a term Hindutva groups often use to accuse Muslim men of entrapping Hindu women on the pretext of love in order to eventually convert them to Islam.
The incident took place on Sunday when VHP workers, led by their regional chief Manish Kumar, allegedly barged into the man’s home, roughed up the two and handed them over to the police. They were then taken to the police station in separate vehicles.
“We have received the video,” Mahesh Mishra, the Meerut Police’s public relations officer, told The Times of India. “An FIR has been registered. The cop was only trying to protect him. We are in the process of arresting the men.”
Director General of Police Om Prakash Singh on Thursday condemned the incident and the police’s role in it. “The Meerut incident is an act of gross imprudence by few errant cops,” he tweeted. “Irresponsible and insensitive behaviour by UP cops would not be tolerated. A job of a policeman is to maintain highest standards of probity which must be upheld at all times. Corrective action is being taken.”
Meanwhile, the woman who was beaten told The Times of India that she had gone to her friend’s place to exchange class notes. Both of them are nursing students in Sardar Vallabhbhai University. She accused the police of coercing her to file a rape case.
“While I was waiting at the police station for my family to arrive, cops forced me to file a rape case against my friend,” the woman told the newspaper. They told me that they would let me walk free only if I listened to them. Later, the policemen gave the same advice to my family.”
The woman said her parents initially believed what they had heard from others. “Later, when I told them what had happened, they supported me,” she added. I do not know why the cops behaved so badly with me and my friend.”