A 23-year-old Muslim man, who was travelling on a bus with a woman from another religion, was allegedly beaten and stabbed by members of the Bajrang Dal on Thursday, The New Indian Express reported on Friday.
Four people have been arrested in connection with the incident. Some media reports mentioned that the woman was Hindu.
The police said that the woman was travelling to Bengaluru to look for a job, and had asked the man, her friend, to accompany her. “The incident occurred around 9.30 pm when a group of Bajrang Dal members stopped the bus in which the man and the woman were travelling and assaulted the man,” Mangaluru city Police Commissioner N Shashi Kumar was quoted as saying by the newspaper. “He was also stabbed by them.”
The commissioner added that both of them were forced to get down from the bus, NDTV reported. “The boy was beaten up and when the girl tried to come in the way, she was also hurt,” he said. The man sustained a stab injury near his hip and was taken to a hospital.
The police formed four teams to arrest the accused, according to The New Indian Express. They were charged under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code.
The police commissioner told the newspaper that four such incidents had taken place in the last three months and added that more police personnel would be deployed at public places to stop such incidents.
An unidentified police officer told The News Minute that officials were investigating how the accused got to know about the man and the woman travelling on the bus. “The group of men were agitated because they were from different communities and they raised allegations about ‘love jihad’,” the official said.
“Love jihad” is a conspiracy theory espoused by right-wing Hindu activists, alleging that Hindu women are forcibly converted by Muslims through marriage.
Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have introduced ordinances that criminalise interfaith marriage under the fig leaf of “love jihad”. The Uttar Pradesh Assembly passed the controversial law on February 24. Several arrests have been made in the state under the law.