New Delhi: A Dalit youth in western Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar was beaten with sticks and kicked around by three men who claimed the youth had insulted gods. Hurling abuses, the aggressors forced the Dalit youth to chant ‘jai mata di’. A video recording of the assault started being circulated on social media last Sunday, according to reports. The police identified the victim to be a Dalit man in his 20s from Muzaffarnagar.
Rightwing activists forced the Dalit youth to say ‘jai shri ram’ because he had earlier torn posters of Hindu gods and replaced them with posters of B.R. Ambedkar outside houses of Dalits in Purkazi area, reported the Times of India.
The victim, identified as Vipin Kumar, a shopkeeper in Kelanpur village in Muzaffarnagar, was coming home on his motorcycle when he was “ambushed” by four men from a neighbouring village and beaten, his family said.
As the news of the assault came in, the police lodged an FIR and started to search for the culprits, reported the Indian Express. “We are speaking to the victim and his family members and the accused have been identified as three-four Gujjar residents of the area. The incident took place in the the Purkazi police station area,” said senior superintendent of police Anant Deo.
The video recording shows a man wearing a black helmet lying on the ground, being beaten and kicked by at least three men while a fourth person records the incident. At one point in the clip, the man’s helmet is pulled off as the three assaulters ask him to repeat ‘jai mata di’, said the Indian Express report. One of the assailants asks another person to record the incident and make it go “viral”while another person tells the youth, “We don’t criticise your Ambedkar, do we? Why did you do it to ours?”
An FIR was registered under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Meanwhile, the Shahid Udham Singh Sena have threatened to launch an agitation in Muzaffarnagar if the police fail to arrest the accused by today.
With PTI inputs