New Delhi/Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh police arrested three persons in connection with the incident of a Muslim bangle seller who was ruthlessly beaten and allegedly robbed on Sunday by a mob in broad daylight in Indore’s Bangaga area while he was being abused with communal slurs.
The victim, identified as Tasleem (25), is a resident of Uttar Pradesh’s Hardoi district told NewsClick over phone that he has been selling bangles for the past seven years in Indore and adjacent districts to earn a living for his three children and wife.
According to Indore Superintendent of Police Ashutosh Bagri, the three accused have been identified on the basis of video footage of the incident who were seen thrashing Tasleem and hurling religious slurs.
“Rakesh Pawar, Rajkumar Bhatnagar and Vivek Vyas have been arrested this morning. They were booked under 13 Sections of the IPC including sections of rioting, assault, robbery, intimidation and trying to disturb communal harmony,” he to reporters in Indore this morning.
Bagri further said that a case has also been registered against three protesting people -- Zaid Pathan, Mumtaz Seth and Abdul Rauf -- who were demanding stringent action against the culprits outside the Banganga police station under Sections 147, 294 and 351 of the IPC. “When they did not agree to end their protest despite repeated attempts outside the police station, police booked under relevant sections of the IPC,” he told reporters.
Police sources told NewsClick that the accused Vivek Vyas has close association with some leaders of ruling government in Madhya Pradesh.
Speaking with NewsClick, the victim said: “I have been selling bangles for last seven years in this region. On Sunday, when I entered the colony, a few people started asking my name and my sought Aadhaar card. As soon as they realised that I’m Muslim, one of the men slapped and passed religious slurs.”
Tasleem added: “Meanwhile, they started searching my bags and looted all the bangles and other stuff which I had taken on loan and earn as commission. They did not stop there and brutally thrashed me while others were provoking them.”
“I escaped from the place after I fell unconscious,” he added.
The victim said he travels to Indore every year and stays at Ranipur Musafirkhana to sell bangles during the monsoon season. “I had my Aadhaar and voter ID card with different surnames because of a mistake,” he added.
In the viral video, the street hawker can be seen being brutally beaten in public in Banganga area of Indore by a group of men who allegedly robbed him of Rs 10,000, which he was carrying, the FIR (seen by NewsClick) said.
In the widely circulated video on social media, the Muslim man is being told not to not enter Hindu neighbourhood for his business. Two men can be seen taking out all of Tasleem’s bangles from his bag and laying them out while one of them is heard saying: "Take all [bangles] you want, whichever is of your size. He should not be seen in this area ever again.”
Tasleem said he kept pleading for mercy from the attackers, promising that he would not visit the area again, as per the video.
The video of the incident garnered condemnation on social media both from netizens and a few politicians so far. Imran Pratapgarhi, spokesperson of Congress Minority Department, took to Twitter to slam the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government over the incident. He also asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi whether “this was the India you wanted to create.”
As the issue stirred a controversy with the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government drawing flak from the various sections of the society, state Home Minister Narottam Mishra spoke out in defence. “The incident took place because he was carrying two Aadhaar cards with different names. The required action has been taken against the culprits.”
The victim Tasleem, however, said that Aadhar and voter ID card mistakenly had different surnames and claimed he lost those during the incident.
When asked, SP Indore Bagri confirmed that the different identity cards had been recovered and said “we are investigating it.”
Going a step further, state Medical Education Minister and MLA Rameshwar Sharma demanded probe, suggesting a ‘Love-Jihad’ angle in the incident.