A day after he was assaulted allegedly by Bajrang Dal activists outside a mosque in Hisar, Mohammed Haroon Kasni (30) on Wednesday said he tried explaining to the mob that he was also against terrorists but no one listened to him.
“I kept explaining that I am also against the terrorists and traitors of the country. But they did not listen and slapped me after dragging me out of the mosque where I was performing namaz,” Haroon said.
A resident of Mirjapur Pol village of Saharanpur district in Uttar Pradesh, Haroon had come to Hisar for the first time. At 5.30 pm on Tuesday, he was at Jama Masjid in the town to perform prayers when Bajrang Dal activists allegedly assaulted him. According to police, the incident took place during a march by Bajrang Dal activists led by Kapil Vats to protest the attack on Amarnath yatra pilgrims.
Hisar SP Manish Choudhary said that one of the accused, Anil, who has a shop in local auto market, had been arrested on the basis of the video footage of the incident, which has gone viral.
“Anil, who is around 30, was also part of the demonstration. During interrogation, he confessed to having slapped Haroon when he did not say Bharat Mata Ki Jai. Anil also told us that he participated in dharnas by shopkeepers of the auto market. We have to verify whether he is a member of the Bajrang Dal,” Choudhary said.
Asked about increase in the incidents of such vigilantism, Haryana Industries and Commerce Minister Vipul Goel said, “In any state, such small incidents are natural but the government has responsibility to take action. Appropriate action will be taken in the matter as early as possible.”
Recalling the assault, Haroon said, “The Bajrang Dal activists dragged me out from the mosque and asked me to raise slogans like Jai Shri Ram and Jai Mata Ki. This was issue of my religious faith. I was fearful and kept standing silent. They slapped me again and again.”
Haroon, who claimed to be a maulvi, said he had come to Hisar to sell mangoes. “During evening hours, I went to the mosque. I and four others were performing namaz when the Bajrang Dal men entered the mosque and threatened us,” he said.
“They targeted me because it was easy for them to identify that I am a Muslim because of my beard and cap. Others hid in different corners of the mosque. They would have killed me had the police not arrived,” he said.