Police on Sunday booked 12 youths for allegedly pulling the beard of a Muslim cleric and forcing him to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ in Muzaffarnagar of Uttar Pradesh, PTI reported. Superintendent of Police Shailesh Kumar Pandey said an investigation was underway and action would be taken.
“Prima facie it seems to be a matter of physical assault. Even then, the police have registered a case against 12 youngsters on the basis of the cleric’s complaint. Action will be taken against them on the basis of the probe,” the SP was quoted as saying by PTI.
Imam Imlaq-ur-Rehman, a resident of Muzaffarnagar, was going to his village on his motorcycle on Saturday when a dozen youngsters accosted him, beat him up and also pulled his beard. The Imam claimed he was also forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’. The youth allegedly told the cleric to enter the village only after shaving his beard.
The SP said the cause of assault is yet to be known. SP Pandey said the Imam had registered a similar case in Muzaffarnagar district, which was later found to be true.
The incident comes just days after four madrasa students in UP’s Unnao district alleged that they were forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and were assaulted when they refused to do so. According to the complaint filed by the principal of the Darul Uloom Faiz-e-Aam madrasa, Nisar Ahmed Miswahi, four men thrashed the four students on Thursday after they refused to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’, and were also given life threats.
An FIR was lodged against four people — Kranti Singh, his associates Aditya Shukla and Kamal and one unidentified person. Police detained Shukla and Kamal, which led to protests by pro-Hindu groups at the Kotwali police station. On Friday morning, BJYM, VHP and Bajrang Dal workers gheraoed the police station, demanded that the two be released, and called for a fair and impartial probe into the incident.