Cases filed against him and his son in Puttur taluk
“Fear keeps us indoors, for if they have attacked us once, what will stop them from doing that again” asked Ravindranath Rai, a farmer at Abbada in Puttur taluk.
“The fear of a physical assault is compounded by the mental harassment of having to fight the cases filed against me and my son. All I did was try to help a neighbour,” he added.
Around 9.30 p.m. on September 27, two men on a motorcycle were seen damaging doors and windows of the house of Abdul Khader, who used to be a beef trader. Mr. Rai confronted the duo. They tried to flee, and he pursued them to the fringes of the village. However, a group of more than 10 men, who were waiting there on two motorcycles and in a jeep, surrounded him. “I recognised two of them as Aral Kumar and Dharmapal, members of the local unit of the Bajrang Dal. When I asked them why they had come to the village, they started assaulting me,” he said.
Meanwhile, village residents, who were returning from the mosque, rushed to his help, and the men ran away.
Mr. Rai filed a complaint in the Kadaba police station the next day. The swords left behind by the assaulters were handed over as evidence. A case of assault was filed against them.
Immediately, Dharmapal filed a counter-complaint, accusing Mr. Rai and a group of Muslims of “charging at them with pistols” and robbing them. A case of dacoity was filed against him.
On October 4, claiming that a woman was severely injured after Mr. Rai’s gang assaulted her with a rifle, the same group urged the police to file cases under stricter sections against Mr. Rai and his 19-year-old son, a second-year engineering student at a nearby college.
“We have not arrested anyone, and have only filed notices to both sides. It still has to be investigated why the second case was filed after a delay,” said a senior police official. Though the police had not established that all the accused in the incident were members of the Bajrang Dal, he said: “When they came to my office, a few Bajrang Dal leaders represented them.”
Breaking down as he talked to The Hindu , Mr. Rai said the filing of the case against his son threatened his future. “During the entire incident, my son was inside the house. He had nothing to do with this. The woman was not there during the assault. My son is now even scared to go to college,” he said.
Apart from pursuing these legal cases with his limited resources, Mr. Rai said he was scared to go to his farm for work after the incident. “I don’t know when the group will assault me, or when the police will arrest me. I get threat calls asking me why I took the side of the Bearys .”
Ravindranath Rai confronted people who attacked the house of Abdul Khader ‘I get threat calls asking me why I took the side of the Bearys’
Ravindranath Rai confronted people who attacked the house of Abdul Khader
‘I get threat calls asking me why I took the side of the Bearys’