A 30-year-old Muslim cleric was allegedly beaten up and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ near Sarora village on Meerut-Karnal highway in Baghpat on Saturday evening. Though police have lodged an FIR against 10 unidentified persons for rioting and criminal intimidation, they said that a purported video of the alleged incident shows that “no one forced the victim to chant Jai Sri Ram”.
According to the FIR filed at Doghat police station in Baghpat, cleric Imlakur Rehman Ali, a resident of Jola village of Budhana in Muzzafarnagar district, was returning home on a motorbike after teaching students at a mosque in Sardhana, Meerut, on Saturday evening when he was forcibly stopped by around 10 youngsters near Sarora village in Baghpat district.
“They removed the cap from my head and pulled me down by holding my beard. They forced me to repeatedly say ‘Jai Sri Ram’ with them and warned me against taking the same route again. And if I dared to come back, I should remove my beard before entering into their territory,” Ali was quoted as saying in the FIR.
“We have lodged an FIR based on a written complaint given to Doghat police by the victim. 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 Sri Ram. Prima facie, it appears that someone has pre-scripted the content of the complaint to give the incident a communal colour,” Deputy Superintendent of Police (Ramala) Anuj Kumar Chaudhary said.
Police also said that two residents of Sardhana — Suhail and Nadim Khan — had come to Ali’s rescue and took the cleric to Doghat police station.
“We have lodged the FIR against 10 unidentified persons.The FIR has been lodged 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),” said Ramesh Singh Siddu, the in-charge of Doghat police station.
No arrests have been made in the case, so far.
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