A 32-year-old Muslim man was allegedly harassed and attacked with swords, iron rods and sticks by a group of men who forced him to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’ in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara district, police have registered an FIR.
Khan said he goes to the dairy shop to buy milk for his family near the tea shop in Bhilwara’s Subhash Nagar area every day in evening after coming back home.
On July 4, when he went to buy milk around 7 p.m., around seven men surrounded the shop and started hurling Islamophobic terms against him, he said, adding they started forcing him to chant Jai Sri Ram, following which, he ran away home.
“I was too scared for my life, my family told me to not go there in the evening but in the morning, when the group won’t be there,” he said.
Four days later, when he went to shop around 10 a.m., he left his house worried and anxious.
“I kept hoping and praying to not meet the group of men, I kept thinking about my little children,” Mr. Khan said.
However, when he reached the spot, he found relief as only one of the group members were standing outside the shop.
He hurriedly went to buy milk, when one of them stopped him, and started abusing him.
“Some people were standing around us, but they were scared to intervene, he forced me to chant Jai Sri Ram and then hit me on my stomach with his foot, when I fell down, he called more associates with swords, iron rods and sticks, they attacked me with that and hit my head, limbs, chest and stomach,” Mr. Khan.
During the attack, Saheb said, he could only think about his mother and children.
“I thought I would die and nobody would even get to know about me, my family would have to fight for answers, I hope we are able to create a safe world for people of all religions,” he said.
“I remember everything turned black, I could only cry and ask them to not hit me, I kept telling them no religion forces people to attack me, I had read about victims of communal hatred, but did not know I would become a part this hatred,” Mr. Khan says, as he pleads for justice.
He says police have assured him with arrests.
According to a senior police officer, an FIR has been registered against Mukesh Gurjar, Shiva Gurjar and five others at Subhash Nagar police station under IPC sections 147 (rioting), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint), 307 (attempt to murder), 295-A ( (hurting religious sentiments)).
The area near the Registrar’s office doesn’t have residential buildings and has farms around it. There aren’t many people seen in the area.
Following the incident, Mr. Khan remains hospitalised and his family has not been able to leave their residence since two days.
“I live with my ailing mother, a wife and four children, they’re all living in fear due to the circumstances, I don’t know how long it will take for us to come out of the trauma, I wish we could leave this city but there’s financial crunch,” Mr. Khan said.
He moved to Bhilwari from U.P.’s Lucknow district when he was 11 to look for employment along with his elder brother.
According to Deputy Superindent of Police (Bhilwara Sadar) Yogesh Sharma, three accused, Ayush Jain, Shiva Gurjar and Mukesh Gurjar have been arrested and raids are on to arrest the other accused persons.
“During investigation, it was revealed the altercation took place over accused persons forcing the victim to chant Jai Shree Ram, however, the accused persons, during interrogation claimed that they weren’t aware of the victim’s identity, we are corroborating the different versions, investigation is underway,” DSP said.