Eleven people have been booked in Alwar district for allegedly forcing a 32-year-old Dalit man to rub his nose on a temple platform for remarks the latter had made in reply to comments in one of his Facebook posts, said officials on Wednesday. Seven of the 11 accused were arrested on Wednesday, said police.
Rajesh Kumar Meghwal, 32, said the sequence of events started after he uploaded a Facebook post related to The Kashmir Files on March 18. “I had watched the trailer of the film and had uploaded a post, in which I said the movie has shown atrocities against Kashmiri Pandits and is being made tax-free. That is fine, but there are also atrocities against Dalits and other communities. Why are movies such as Jai Bhim not made tax free?” Meghwal, a resident of Gokalpur village told The Indian Express.
Meghwal added that some people started posting religious slogans on his FB post. Later, Meghwal said he started receiving threats and was being pressured to apologise.
“Villagers and a former sarpanch started to mount pressure on me to apologise at the village temple. They assured me that I will not be roughed up. But they started heckling me and forced me to rub my nose at the platform of the temple against my wishes,” alleged Meghwal.
Following the incident, based on Meghwal’s complaint, an FIR was lodged at Behror police station under sections 143 (punishment for unlawful assembly), 342 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the IPC and relevant sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act) and 11 people were booked.
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“I am under immense pressure after the FIR and am scared for my safety,” said Meghwal.
“We have arrested seven people out of the 11 named accused. They are Ajay Kumar Sharma, Sanjeet Kumar, Hemant Sharma, Parvindra Kumar, Ramotar, Nitin Jangid and Dayaram. Further investigation is being conducted,” said Behror circle officer Rao Anand.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Assembly Speaker CP Joshi said on Wednesday that the Kota district administration has clarified and tweeted that Section 144 will not be applicable on The Kashmir Files or any other films being screened in cinema halls.
Joshi added that the ‘confusion’ has been cleared and that there will be no restrictions on peaceful organising on festivals as well.
Earlier on March 21, the Kota district administration had stated in an order imposing section 144 that: “Additionally, in view of ‘The Kashmir Files’ playing at cinema halls and to maintain law and order in the district, there is a need to suspend gathering of crowds, protests, assemblies and processions”.
The issue had also led to an uproar in the Rajasthan Assembly on Tuesday.