The attackers wanted the victims to remove their head scarves, said an eyewitness.
New Delhi: Three Muslim clerics were allegedly beaten up by unidentified persons in a moving Delhi-Shamli passenger train in Uttar Pradesh, police said on Thursday.
Thirty-year-old Gulzar, 25-year-old Israr and 21-year-old Abu Bakr, who boarded the train at Delhi on Wednesday night after visiting Hazrat Nizamuddin, were on their way to their village in Baghpat district when they had a tiff with some youth, superintendent of police, Baghpat, Jaiprakash Singh said.
According to an eyewitness, the attackers said they wanted to remove the head scarves which the victims were wearing, the Indian Express reported.
A report in NDTV quoted one of their attackers allegedly shouting, “Why do you wear a rumaal (scarf)?”
On receiving information about the scuffle, villagers gathered at the scene and demanded the arrest of the attackers. After the Government Railway Police (GRP) refused to take action, the villagers went to Kotwali police station and created a ruckus by threatening a stir, reported the Daily Pioneer.
It was only after senior officers intervened that an FIR was lodged against six unidentified persons.
“We were supposed to get down at Ahera station in Baghpat, which is close to our village. As the train was about to reach Ahera, a group of six-seven youths bolted the doors. When we told them that we had to get off at the next station, they said they would let us go after some time,” Guddu, 18, who has been named in the FIR as an eyewitness, told the Indian Express.
“We had no argument with these people. They said they would remove the scarves tied around the heads of Gulzar, Israr and Abu Bakr. Since I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, they did not target me,” said Guddu.
“Before we could gauge their intentions, they targeted the trio and started beating them up without any provocation. They were carrying a sharp-edged tool, with which they hit Israr, causing injuries,” he added.
Guddu told the Indian Express that none of the passengers came forward to help even after hearing the screams.
Station officer, GRP police station, Sukhpal Singh said that Israr suffered a head injury while Gulzar and Abu Bakar sustained minor injuries.
Singh told the Times of India, “Soon after the attack, the accused fled the scene. The three victims reached Baghpat Kotwali and registered their complaint. Since it was a group of six-seven youths, there is a possibility that they were daily commuters. It could also be a case of dispute over seat-sharing, which is very common in passenger trains.”
“After treatment at the district hospital, they returned to their village, Choulhada,” he told the Indian Express.
Singh, however, denied that the trio had been thrown out of the train.
The clerics were treated at a government hospital and later discharged. The case has now been transferred to the GRP.
Attacks on train passengers belonging to the Muslim community have been reported with increasing frequency in the recent past. In June this year, 17-year-old Junaid Khan was lynched by a mob while on his way to his village in Haryana from Delhi. On October 2, a Muslim family of three were allegedly attacked by a dozen men after a scuffle in the same passenger train near Bawli village in Baghpat.
(With inputs from PTI)