Updated: January 8, 2022 12:45:32 am
A 32-year-old Muslim man suffering from bipolar disorder was assaulted, made to lick his own spit and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ by suspected BJP workers in Dhanbad on Friday.
Identifying the man as Zeeshan Khan, police said one person has been arrested in connection with the assault. They said more arrests will be made after further investigation.
The incident took place at a protest by the BJP against the security lapse during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Punjab. The party’s Dhanbad MLA Raj Sinha and Dhanbad MP P N Singh were among the leaders present at the protest.
Zeeshan was passing by the spot when he allegedly used abusive words for one of the BJP leaders. He was immediately surrounded by a group of suspected BJP workers and supporters who started assaulting him. He was then made to squat, spit on the road and lick it and chant Jai Shri Ram.
After a video of the incident went viral on social media, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren ordered Dhanbad Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Singh to inquire into the incident. “DC Dhanbad, please take strict action against the culprits and immediately inform. There is no place for animosity among the peace loving people of Jharkhand,” he tweeted.
Two hours later, Singh said, “We are inquiring into the matter and Dhanbad police is investigating it and has registered an FIR. One person has been arrested.” He said it was not immediately clear whom Zeeshan abused.
The FIR was filed on the complaint of Zeeshan’s younger brother Rehan Khan.
Speaking to The Indian Express over phone, Rehan said his brother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 10 years ago. “What kind of society is this. Even if my brother said something, did he deserve to be treated like this – made to lick his spit and forced to say Jai Shri Ram. My brother has been suffering from mental illness since 2012,” Rehan, 28, said.
He said a doctor in Ranchi has been treating Zeeshan, who in the past had also been treated at Central Institute of Psychiatry in the state capital.
In his complaint to the police, Rehan said, “…My elder brother Zeeshan Khan was passing by the city center between 1-2 pm where BJP members were protesting at the Gandhi statue area. My brother was chased and beaten by the mob… and was forced to lick spit and asked to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’… My brother is injured… I plead that legal action be taken and justice be done with my brother.”
Confirming the FIR, Dhanbad SSP Sanjeev Kumar told The Indian Express, “We have arrested one person, Jeetu Shaw. Further investigation is being conducted to arrest the remaining.” He said political affiliation of the arrested person will be clear after investigation. When asked about the provocation, he said, “That is a matter of investigation.”
While MLA Raj Sinha did not respond to calls and messages seeking his comments, MP P N Singh’s phone remained switched off.
Jharkhand has enacted an anti-mob lynching and mob-violence law, which is yet to be notified. The new law has provisions for punishment up to life imprisonment.
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