Two Kashmiri men selling dryfruits on the roadside in Lucknow were assaulted over their identity by saffron-clad persons, leading to the arrest of four members of the Vishwa Hindu Dal, a right wing group, on Thursday.
Recorded on phone
The accused not only assaulted the Kashmiri traders but also recorded the incident on their mobile phones and shared the clip on social media, taking credit for the assault.
The clip showed the Kashmiri men being beaten with sticks and being slapped, and subjected to verbal abuse and anti-Kashmiri remarks.
The incident took place late on Wednesday afternoon at the busy Daliganj bridge where vendors set up stalls to sell vegetables, fruits and other items.
The assaulters got down from a car, accosted the three or four Kashmir men who had laid out their wares on the road and demanded that they display their identity cards. While two Kashmiris escaped, the others were assaulted, with one of the victims seen crying.
Local onlookers and motorists soon came to the rescue of the Kashmir residents and confronted the saffron-clad men.
In the video, when a local intervenes and asks why they are beating them, one of the assaulters replies: “They are Kashmiris. They are pelting stones there.”
In response, the onlooker asks them to not take the law into their hands. One Kashmiri man is then handed over to the police, while the other is seen running away crying, leaving his stock behind. “They called us terrorists and said we pelt stones, and started hitting us,” said a victim.
After widespread outrage, the Lucknow police late on Wednesday evening filed an FIR at Hassanganj police station, under Sections 147, 323 and 504 of the Indian Penal Code, but added sections 153A, 307 (attempt to murder) and 7CLA Act in the case on Thursday.
While the main accused Bajrang Sonkar was arrested late on Wednesday night, Himanshu Garg, Anirudh Kumar and Amar Mishra were nabbed on Thursday, police said.
The victims belong to Kulgam.
SSP Kalanidhi Naithani said the accused belong to the Vishwa Hindu Dal Trust run by one Ambuj Nigam. Sonkar has around a dozen criminal cases against him till 2011, including murder, loot and Arms Act violations, said the officer.