After nearly 10 days of unsubstantiated claims, the city police registered nine cases in the 24 hours ending Friday night where people from the northeast had been assaulted and intimidated. Four of these cases involved assault and the remaining five were related to intimidation.
The first case of assault was registered by the Ashoknagar police on Friday afternoon based on a complaint filed by four people of a family from Darjeeling.
The victims — Prakash Rai (28), Ajai Chetri (29), Rijan Gurung (22), Kumar Chetri (30) — told the police they were attacked by a three-member, “Urdu-speaking” gang 50 metres from their home in Neelasandra where they live with their families. Mr. Rai, Mr. Ajai Chetri and Mr. Kumar Chetri own roadside momo stalls and Mr. Gurung works in a salon.
Outside a mall
It was the second attack, though, that had the police confounded as those arrested belonged not just to the Muslim community but included a Christian as well as a Hindu man.
The victims in the second case — Lailan (26), Robert (25) and Sangpe (19) — were attacked outside a mall in Shantinagar. In their statement to the police, these men from Manipur said that Abrar Ahmed, a mall employee, accosted them around 1.45 p.m. and sought to know if they were from the northeast. When they replied in the affirmative, they were attacked by a gang that seemed to be acquainted with Abrar.
The police arrested eight people in connection with this case and identified five of them as Abrar, Vinay, Antony, Salman and Mubarak. They did not belong to any organisation, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) B.R. Ravikanthe Gowda.
Detailing the first attack, Mr. Ajai Chetri told The Hindu he was walking back home at around 1 p.m. on Friday along with Mr. Kumar Chetri and Mr. Gurung when the gang pounced upon them in the narrow bylane.
“They punched and kicked us as well as hit us with a helmet,” he said. When Mr. Rai, who heard their pleas for help and tried to intervene, one of the attackers picked up a spade and hit him.
“I was carrying my child when I was hit. They wanted to hit me on the head but missed narrowly,” Mr. Rai said and added that the attackers were speaking in Urdu.
“There were several people around but they just watched,” said Mr. Gurung. They had decided not to return to their village following assurances from local leaders and the police.
“The police patrol was stationed around 100 metres away but the attackers vanished by the time they arrived,” claimed Mr. Ajai Chetri.
Tall promises made by the police top brass on Thursday sounded hollow in the case of Alo Sumi of Nagaland. He was in his neighbourhood in Koramangala 8th Block when a gang of 10 approached him threateningly and asked him to leave.
He told The Hindu he made a dash for his house and locked himself in. Calls to the Koramangala police were met with a cold response, he said, and they asked him to contact the Adugodi police. The latter did not get there “in five minutes” as was promised. Instead, it took them more than three hours, well after 10 p.m., to arrive at his doorstep.
The J.P Nagar police registered a case of intimidation based on a complaint by Rajiv Newar from Assam, who said he had received five threatening calls from a mobile phone late on Thursday.
The Ashoknagar police registered three separate cases of intimidation the same day. One was filed by Marylyn Bou (26) from Manipur who claimed she was threatened at Ejipura.
The second was filed by D. Peter (26) from Assam who claimed he had been waylaid and threatened by a gang at Austin Town. On Thursday evening, Bikash from Mizoram and a resident of Anepalya had registered a case of intimidation.
The Ashoknagar police station received two other cases by late Friday.
According to police sources, a complaint was filed by a 23-year-old Manipuri boy, Cunningham, who was threatened in Johnson Market. He sustained hand and leg injuries, the police added.
Two boys, Yantsuthung Erui and Renthungo Odyuo, both 21 and Jain College students hailing from Nagaland, were threatened by a gang in Shantinagar between 6 and 7 p.m.
This story was corrected on August 18, 2012 for factual error