A 16-year-old Muslim boy was beaten by unidentified men in the city of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh for wearing a skullcap and refusing to chant “Jai Shri Ram”, PTI quoted the police as saying on Saturday.

The alleged incident occurred on Friday, when Mohammad Taj, a resident of the Barra locality, was returning home after offering namaz in Kidwai Nagar, according to the police.

Taj was reportedly accosted by three to four motorcyclists a few hundred metres from his home for overtaking them. They objected to him wearing the skullcap, Station House Officer (Barra) Satish Kumar Singh told the news agency. The men asked Taj to chant “Jai Shri Ram”, and kicked and punched him when he refused, Singh added. The men reportedly told him that wearing skullcaps was “not allowed” in the area.

“They removed my cap, pinned me down and beat me black and blue while asking me to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’,” said Taj. The teenager claimed that he when he cried for help and begged a couple of shopkeepers to rescue him, a few people rushed to help him. Seeing this, the attackers fled the scene.

A first information report has been registered under the Indian Penal Code, including Section 153A (causing enmity between people of different religions), the police officer said. Taj has undergone a medical examination, and efforts are on to identify the accused.

There have been at least three similar attacks reported across the country in the past two weeks. On June 18, a 24-year Muslim man was assaulted by mobs and forced to say “Jai Shri Ram” in Jharkhand’s Seraikela Kharsawan district. He died four days later. On June 24, a 25-year-old Muslim man was allegedly beaten up, verbally abused, and forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” in Diva area of Maharashtra’s Thane district. The same day a 26-year-old madrasa teacher and two others were allegedly assaulted in Kolkata for not chanting “Jai Shri Ram”.