A Muslim man was assaulted, made to lick his own spit and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ by suspected BJP workers in Dhanbad on Friday.
Identifying the man as Hasib, police said one person has been arrested in connection with the assault. They said more arrests will be made after further investigation.
The incident took place during a protest by the BJP against the security lapse during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Punjab. Dhanbad BJP MLA Raj Sinha and Dhanbad MP P N Singh were among the leaders present at the protest.
Hasib, in his 40s, was passing by the spot when he allegedly used abusive words for one of the BJP leaders. He was immediately surrounded by a group of suspected BJP workers and supporters who started assaulting him. He was then made to squat, spit on the road and lick it and chant Jai Shri Ram.
After a video of the incident went viral on social media, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren ordered Dhanbad Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Singh to inquire into the incident. “DC Dhanbad, please take strict action against the culprits and immediately inform. There is no place for animosity among the peace loving people of Jharkhand,” he tweeted.
Two hours later, Singh said, “We are inquiring into the matter and Dhanbad police is investigating it and has registered an FIR. One person has been arrested.” He said it was not immediately clear whom Hasib abused.
Dhanbad SSP Sanjeev Kumar told The Indian Express, “A person who goes by one name Hasib was beaten by a crowd Friday. We have registered an FIR based on the complaint of one Rehan, who is Hasib’s brother. We have arrested one person, Jeetu Shaw, in the incident. Further investigation is being conducted to arrest the remaining.”
He said political affiliation of the arrested person will be clear after investigation. When asked about the provocation, he said, “That is a matter of investigation.”
While MLA Raj Sinha did not respond to calls and messages seeking his comments, MP P N Singh’s phone remained switched off.
Jharkhand has enacted an anti-mob lynching and mob-violence law, which is yet to be notified. The new law has provisions for punishment up to life imprisonment.