Videos have surfaced of the assault in Kanpur on a 34-year-old on Wednesday, which shows a group of men forcing him to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ even as his daughter, 5, keeps pleading with them to let him go.
In one of the videos, some men wearing saffron scarves are seen assaulting Afsar Ahmad, an e-rickshaw driver, and accusing him of raising anti-national slogans. Ahmad pleads repeatedly that he did not raise any such slogans, even as his five-year-old daughter sobs, trying to free him.
Police had rescued Ahmad, and taken him and his daughter to a police station.
On Thursday, three people were arrested in connection with the incident. They were identified as Ajay Rajesh “Band waala”, Aman Gupta, and Rahul Kumar. “We are conducting searches for other accused,” Kanpur police commissioner Asim Kumar Arun said. Meanwhile, several Bajrang Dal activists led a protest outside the DCP (South) office in Kanpur against the trio’s arrest.
Linking Wednesday’s incident to a dispute that took place a month ago between two families belonging to different communities who live in the slum where the assault took place, ACP (Govindnagar) Vikas Pandey said, “Ahmad submitted a complaint. We have filed a case on the basis of that. We have named some locals, including under Sections pertaining to assault and rioting.”
In his complaint, Ahmad has named five people, while 10 are unidentified. He stated that some men had caught hold of him Wednesday afternoon and started beating him up. “They threatened to kill me and my family and said I should leave the area. I was saved by police,” says the complaint, lodged under IPC Sections 147 (rioting), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation).
Police Commissioner Arun said that in the previous dispute, they had filed cases following complaints from both sides. The row had later seen accusations of forcible conversion.
On Wednesday’s attack on Ahmad, the ACP said, “Some people from a Hindu outfit had come to meet one of the families involved in the dispute, demanding action on their behalf. While they were there, some local residents caught hold of a man related to the other family and beat him. He was taken away by police and is fine now.”
A senior police officer said the VHP and Bajrang Dal had held a protest in the area on Wednesday.
Kanpur DCP (South) Raveena Tyagi issued a statement on the previous incident, saying a woman had lodged a complaint on July 12 against a couple from the neighbourhood, alleging harassment under Section 354 (dealing with assault or criminal force on a woman with the intent to outrage her modesty). “The counter-FIR was filed against the woman’s sons,” Tyagi said.
During investigation, one of the women belonging to the families involved claimed she was put under pressure to convert her religion.
Police have been deployed in the area to maintain peace.