Two Muslim men in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad city were allegedly threatened and forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” by unidentified people on Sunday night, PTI reported.

Shaikh Amer, who works with food delivery app Zomato, and his friend Shaikh Nasir were waiting to hire an auto-rickshaw in the city’s Azad Chowk area when four to five men in a car allegedly waylaid them. The men abused the two and threatened to kill them if they did not say “Jai Shri Ram”, an unidentified police official told the news agency.

The two victims chanted “Jai Shri Ram” out of fear. The men fled from the spot when they saw people in the area, the police added.

“A complaint has been received of two youths intercepted and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ by four to five men in a car,” said Police Commissioner Chiranjeevi Prasad. “We are trying to identify the vehicle and the accused. Strict action would be taken against them.”

Police personnel have been deployed in the area to maintain law and order problems. “The case is being investigated and I would appeal people to maintain peace and not fall for rumours,” Prasad told ANI.

A series of attacks

The incident came days after a Muslim man was beaten by a group of people and forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” in Aurangabad, PTI reported. Imran Ismail Patel, a hotel employee, claimed that a gang of around 10 people stopped him near Hudco Corner in Begumpura area when he was returning home on his motorbike. One person was arrested in connection with the incident.

There have been several such attacks in the country in the past several months.

On July 12, a group of men allegedly attacked madrasa students at the GIC Ground in Unnao in Uttar Pradesh for not chanting “Jai Shri Ram”. At least three students sustained injuries to their heads and arms. A case was filed, and the police arrested one of the four accused.

On June 18, a Muslim man identified as Tabrez Ansari was beaten up in Jharkhand’s Seraikela Kharsawan district for allegedly attempting to steal a motorcycle. The FIR said that the mob had also forced Ansari to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman”. He died four days later.

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 June 24.