A 25-year-old man was allegedly beaten up, verbally abused, and forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” in Diva area of Maharashtra’s Thane district on Monday. Three accused, all residents of Agasan village, were arrested by the police the next day and were sent to police custody, The Indian Express reported on Friday.
Faisal Usman Khan was making his way to Mumbai around 3 am on Monday after he picked up passengers from Manav Kalyan Hospital in Diva. Khan stopped when his car broke down. “I switched on the parking lights and was trying to restart the car when three men on a scooter came from behind and started banging the windows,” the newspaper quoted Khan as saying. “They were reeking of alcohol and wanted to know why I had stopped my vehicle in the middle of the road.”
The accused allegedly took Khan’s car keys, dragged him and one of the passengers out and started abusing both of them. “…the men also started abusing me for my religion and said that if I chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ loudly, they will let me go,” Khan said. After one of the passengers called the police, the accused snatched his mobile phone and fled.
Khan had initially only complained about the physical violence and his phone’s theft as he was in shock and “was worried about the repercussions on my family”. “However, I later told senior officers at the police station the whole story. They assured me that I had nothing to fear,” he said.
Police arrested 30-year-old Mangesh Munde, 22-year-old Anil Surywanshi, and 26-year-old Jaydeep Munde on Tuesday. “We have booked them for deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs, robbery, voluntarily causing grievous hurt, intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace, criminal intimidation, and common intention,” Mumbai Mirror quoted an unidentified police official as saying.
The incident comes days after the death of Tabrez Ansari in a mob attack in Jharkhand. He was caught in Dhaktidih village in Seraikela-Kharsawan district while allegedly attempting to steal a motorcycle on June 18. Ansari was reportedly tied to a pole and beaten for 12 hours by a mob, and allegedly forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman”.