The Varanasi police Friday arrested four persons after a video surfaced on social media purportedly showing a Nepalese citizen, whose head was tonsured and ‘Jai Shri Ram” inscribed on it, being forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and slogans against Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli.
An FIR lodged at Bhelupur police station named Arun Pathak, linked to Vishwa Hindu Sena Sangathan, as the main accused. “All arrested persons claim that they are members of the same outfit — Vishwa Hindu Sena Sangathan. Pathak is absconding… Those arrested are Santosh Pandey, Raju Yadav, Amit Dubey and Ashish Mitra,” SP (Varanasi City) Vikas Chandra Tripathi told The Indian Express.
“There are three others who were part of the group that shaved the man’s head,” added Tripathi.
The accused have been booked under sections of the IPC relating to public mischief, defiling place of worship with intent to insult religion, and Section 67 of the IT Act. Later, they added two more sections—one for criminal conspiracy and other for promoting communal enmity and relevant sections of the Criminal Law Amendment Act.
Sources said the Nepal embassy had raised the issue with Indian authorities, at the state and central levels after the video went viral on social media.
A statement issued by UP DGP’s office said instructions were issued to senior policemen in Varanasi to take strict action.
In the video, the unidentified man is seen sitting near a river and purportedly being forced to shout slogans against Nepal and its PM Oli. He is also made to praise India for providing “livelihood opportunities to Nepal nationals.”
The complaint, registered by the police after the video went viral, said, “In the video, a person can be seen with his head shaved. In the (Facebook) post, it is written that heads of Nepalese people should be shaved and ‘Jai Shri Ram’ be written on them so that no Oli can have the courage to say anything about Lord Ram.”
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