A Dalit youth in Muzaffarnagar in western UP was beaten mercilessly with sticks by three men who hurled abuses, kicked him and forced him to chant ‘Jai Mata Di’, claiming he had insulted gods.
After a video clip of the assault last Sunday, which was recorded by a fourth assailant, began doing the rounds of social media, police lodged an FIR and launched a manhunt.
Police have identified the victim — a 27-year-old Dalit resident of Muzaffarnagar. Senior Superintendent of Police Anant Deo said an FIR under “strict sections” had been lodged at the Purkazi police station.
“We are speaking to the victim and his family members and the accused have been identified as three-four Gujjar residents of the area. The incident took place in the Purkazi police station area,” the SSP said.
An FIR was registered under IPC sections 307 (attempt to murder), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and sections of the SC/ST Act and IT Act, police said.
The video clip shot Sunday shows a man wearing a black helmet lying on the ground and being beaten and kicked by at least three men while a fourth records the incident. At one point, the man’s hands are folded while his helmet is pulled out and the three men assault him and ask him to repeat chants like ‘Jai Mata Di’.
In the clip, the assailants ask another person to videotape the incident and make it “viral”. One of them tells the Dalit youth, “We don’t criticise your Ambedkar, do we? Why did you do it to ours?”
Omvir Singh, SP City, Muzaffarnagar, said: “Our teams our conducting raids to nab the accused. One of them has been brought in for questioning and arrests will be made soon.”
A police officer said they are investigating if the incident was linked to another incident a month ago, which too was videotaped and circulated on social media platforms. “In that incident, gods were being ridiculed,” the officer said.