No Action Against VHP Men Who Pulled Muslim Man, Hindu Co-Passenger Out of Train

The two passengers were made to wait in the Ujjain police station until their parents arrived at from Indore, 65 km away.

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Bhopal: Three members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad dragged a Muslim man and his Hindu travelling companion out of an Ajmer-bound train, at Ujjain railway station in Madhya Pradesh, accusing the former of ‘love jihad’.

The incident took place on the evening of January 14.

Thirty-year-old Asif Shaikh was travelling with family friend, 26-year-old Sakshi Jain when VHP men dragged them out of the train compartment. Both are residents of Indore.

In a video shot by local channels, the VHP members can be seen forcibly taking the two passengers to Ujjain railway police station for questioning. En route, they assaulted Shaikh.

Police let Shaikh and Jain go after recording their statements and discovering that they were family friends. Both passengers refused to register complaints and the Government Railway Police did not take action against the VHP members either.

According to Government Railway Police, Ujjain, Shaikh runs a sticker shop in Indore and is married. Jain, also married, is a private school teacher in Indore. They were family friends who were going to Ajmer to attend the Pushkar Mela.

The matter came to light on January 18, after a video of the incident was tweeted by a rightwing handle with a misleading caption.

In the video which went viral on social media, the three VHP men can be seen thrashing Shaikh while dragging him from the AC coach of the Ajmer-bound train on way to the police station. Jain followed with two other VHP men who were holding their luggages.

In another video of the incident, the woman is heard asking the VHP men inside the police station to stop filming her. She is heard saying, “My life will be destroyed thanks to one misunderstanding by you. You are filming me, but ask me first, I am an adult, I know what I am doing, I am a teacher.”

Even as the woman is heard screaming, the police can been seen sitting by and watching them as one of the VHP members, later identified as Pintu Kaushal, is heard telling her, “Am I talking to you or what?”

Speaking to The Wire, GRP Inspector of Ujjain, R.S. Mahajan said, “VHP men brought two passengers on January 14, suspecting ‘love jihad’, which turned out to be false upon questioning.”

He said that the passengers’ families were aware that they were travelling together.

Nonetheless, Shaikh and Jain were made to wait in the police station until their parents arrived from Indore, 65 km away.

When asked about the passengers’ safety and as to why no action was taken against the VHP men for dragging and assaulting passengers, Nivedita Gupta, Superintendent of Police for GRP said, “We came to know of the Ujjain incident in which a passenger was mishandled on suspicion of ‘love jihad’ by VHP men, only after the video went viral on social media. Upon questioning, we found that both the passengers walked free on the same day. But they did not make any complaints against the VHP men.”

Meanwhile, Kundan Chandrakar, Prachar Pramukh of Malwa Prant for VHP said, “Our sources informed [us] that a Muslim man was alluring a Hindu daughter and taking her to Ajmer for marriage. Suspecting ‘love jihad’ our workers caught them and took them to the GRP police station and left. We are not aware of what police did subsequently.”

When asked how they learned that the woman was being ‘allured’ by the Muslim man, Chandrakar said, “We live in a society where people care about our Hindu daughters being exploited by Muslim men who commit ‘love jihad’. It is only out of concern for our sisters that our workers had intervened.”

‘Love jihad’ is the name given by the Sangh parivar to an invented conspiracy in which Muslim men supposedly lure Hindu girls with the intention of converting them to Islam.