New Delhi: A 30-year-old Muslim cleric was allegedly assaulted and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat district.
The Uttar Pradesh police on Sunday registered a case against 10 unidentified youths for assaulting the cleric.
According to a report in the Indian Express, the cleric, Imlakur Rehman Ali, is a teacher in a madrasa and a resident of Jola village of Budhana in Muzzafarnagar district, according to the FIR lodged at the Doghat police station in Baghpat. The incident took place in Muzaffarnagar district on Saturday when the imam was going to his village on his motorcycle.
According to the FIR, Ali was quoted as saying, “They removed the cap from my head and pulled me down by holding my beard. They forced me to repeatedly say ‘Jai Shri Ram’ with them and warned me against taking the same route again.” He added that he was threatened and told to “remove [his] beard before entering into their territory”.
Superintendent of police at UP’s Baghpat, Shailesh Kumar Pandey told Times of India that “prime facie it seems to be a matter of physical assault”. He also said that “even then, the police have registered a case against 12 youngsters on the basis of the cleric’s complaint. Action will be taken against them on the basis of probe.”
Pandey also said that the cleric had registered a similar case in Muzaffarnagar which was later found to be true.
However, the Deputy Superintendent of Police (Ramala) Anuj Kumar Chaudhary said, “We are investigating the veracity of the allegations. We also have a video of the incident in which it is clear that no one forced the victim to chant Jai Shri Ram.” He also said that “Prima facie, it appears that someone has pre-scripted the content of the complaint to give the incident a communal colour”.
Ramesh Singh Siddu, the in-charge of Doghat police station said that the police have lodged an FIR against 10 unidentified persons under IPC sections 147 (rioting), 341(wrongful restraint), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt).