A Muslim man and his Hindu friend who were targeted by right-wing activists in Meerut on Sunday have accused police of misbehaving with them instead of trying to prevent the attackers from beating him up mercilessly. The man said he was accused by the group -- allegedly affiliated to the right-wing Vishwa Hindu Parishad -- of indulging in "love jihad", and repeatedly hit in his private parts.
The matter came to light after a 50-second video of the incident turned up on the social media today.
"The main attacker, a man called Manish Lohia, even threatened to shoot me. Those people beat me until blood began dripping from my eyes and nose, but they did not care. They kept hitting me in my private parts, and I feared that I will not survive. My eyes have been bleeding continuously since that day, and I have difficulty breathing," the man told NDTV.
According to him, the nightmarish experience began soon after the woman arrived at his residence to pick up a book. "She was just about to leave when 15 to 16 men came along and asked me my name. They then began to beat me up, saying that it was unsavoury for two people from different communities to meet like this. They told me that it starts with friendship, then advances to romance and love jihad," the man said.
The woman said she was repeatedly asked how the two of them could even hope to get married when they hailed from different communities. "I kept telling them that we were planning no such thing, but they wouldn't listen," she added.
According to the two friends, some police personnel arrived at the spot in a UP 100 van but did nothing to stop the attackers. "Instead, a woman constable grabbed me by the arm," the woman said. "They took me away in a vehicle in spite of my assertions that we were not in a relationship."
This video comes two days after another one of the same incident went viral on Tuesday. The earlier clip showed police personnel assaulting the woman after she was made to board the UP 100 van.
Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police Om Prakash Singh termed the incident as an act of gross imprudence by a "few errant cops". "Irresponsible and insensitive behaviour by UP cops will not be tolerated. The job of a policeman is to maintain the highest standards of probity, and it must be upheld at all times. Corrective action is being taken," he tweeted. The four police personnel seen assaulting the woman in the previous video have been suspended, pending an investigation.
Love jihad is a term used by right-wing groups to describe a romantic relationship between a Hindu woman and a Muslim man.