BHOPAL: A 25-year-old man selling bangles, in a disguised identity, was beaten mercilessly by a group of men in full public glare in Madhya Pradesh’s commercial capital Indore, allegedly over molesting a Class VI student girl in the same locality on Sunday.
The bangle seller identified as Tasleem Ali, a native of Uttar Pradesh’s Hardoi district, was selling bangles in Indore’s Govind Nagar locality, when he was mercilessly thrashed by group of men, who alleged that he had tried to molest a customer in the same locality. Not only was he assaulted, but the attackers also allegedly looted Rs 10,000 cash and Rs 25,000 worth bangles from him, besides damaging his cell-phone.
While a case was registered against 7-8 accused under 14 different IPC sections around 9-10 hours after he was attacked and three men have already been arrested, around 28 hours after the Sunday afternoon incident, a case of molestation and forgery/fraud was registered against the same bangle-seller on the complaint of the Class VI student girl.
The minor alleged in the complaint that the bangle seller had introduced himself as Golu son of Mohar Singh (instead of Tasleem Ali) and molested her while her mother had gone inside the house to get money to pay for the bangles purchased.
According to IG-Indore, Harinarayanchari Mishra, “First a case was registered against unidentified accused under at least 14 sections of IPC, including Sections 141, 142, 143, 147, 148, 149, 153-A, 298, 323, 294, 506, 395, 120-B and 34. Seven to eight men have already been identified, out of which three have been arrested. Later, a case u/s 188 of IPC was registered against those who violated prohibitory orders by protesting outside Central Kotwali police station on Sunday late night,” IG-Indore Harinarayanchari Mishra told The New Indian Express on Monday.
On Monday evening, the concerned bangle-seller Tasleem Ali was booked for molestation and sexually harassment, besides forgery/fraud under IPC Sections 354, 354A, 467,468,471,420, 506 and Section 7 and 8 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012 on the complaint given by Class VI student, who submitted that delay in reporting the matter was caused out of Lok Laaj (public shame/embarrassment).
Earlier, two videos of the merciless beating of the bangle seller triggered tension outside the Central Kotwali police station, with a mob of residents from the nearby minority community dominated area surrounding the police station and protesting against the incident for around two hours on Sunday night.
Two videos (TNIE cannot vouch for their authenticity) showing a group of 8-10 men thrashing the bangle seller, looting his bangles and asking girls and women of the area to take the looted bangles went viral over social media after the incident on Sunday. In one of the videos, the attackers are heard casting communal slurs on the bangle seller and warning him not to venture again in Hindu community area. They are also heard asking others in the locality to come and hit the bangle seller at least once, for avenging the recent incident with two girls in the Muslim community dominated Bombay Bazar area of the city.
Around a fortnight, two girls belonging to the majority community were allegedly molested and their brother was assaulted in the city's Bombay Bazar area. Eight to ten men from the minority community were arrested by police in that case.
In the video of the Sunday incident, the accused are heard telling others to hit the bangle seller in a manner which doesn’t leave any mark on his body and film the incident in such a manner that their identities aren’t disclosed.
A video of Tasleem narrating what happened with him also emerged, in which he is seen telling, “Though I’ve been selling bangles across Indore, it was the first time I ventured in the Govind Nagar area. I didn’t attempt to molest any customer, but was beaten only after the men there came to know that I was a Muslim.”
Several opposition politicians, including UP Congress leader Imran Pratapgarhi and ex-MP CM Digvijaya Singh condemned the attack on the bangle-seller.
While condemning the incident Hindi poet Dr Kumar Vishwas tweeted, “if those assaulting the bangleseller are so brave, then they should go to the country’s border and show their power against nation’s enemies. Hope the MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan won’t remain quiet on this open anarchy, as irrespective of their religion, those who commit such acts are traitors.”