- Victim beaten in public, allegedly robbed off Rs 10,000 by mob in Indore
- Case reportedly registered after people protested outside police station
- Home Minister quoting police probe said that victim was using fake name
A man selling bangles in Madhya Pradesh's Indore was mercilessly thrashed in full public view by a group of men as he had apparently given a fake name. The 25-year-old was also allegedly robbed of Rs 10,000 by his assailants during the incident, which took place on Sunday. "If a man hides his name, caste and religion then bitterness comes in," said the state's Home Minister Narottam Mishra, but added that the incident should not be given "communal colour".
Later, the police said the bangle seller was charged with molesting a girl in the locality. A case of molestation and fraud was registered against him on the complaint of a Class 6 student on Sunday, the police said.
"He was using a Hindu name, though he belonged to a different community. He also had two different Aadhaar cards... he was selling bangles which our daughters wear and apply henna during sawan (monsoon)... that's how the altercation started," the minister said.
In the video of the incident that has been circulating on social media, the man, identified as Tasleem, is seen being beaten up by a group in a crowded street in Banganga area in Indore. The unidentified men are heard using communal slurs at him as people around him watch - none of them try to help the victim.
"Take whatever you want. He should not be seen in this area anymore," a man is heard saying as he takes out bangles from the bag. The man also asks the public to come forward and thrash the victim, who is seen being pulled up by his t-shirt by a man from behind.
Later, three to four men come forward and mercilessly thrash him.
"The accused first asked my name and started beating once I revealed it. They also robbed the Rs 10,000 that I was carrying and broke the bangles and other material that I had," the victim said in his complaint to the police.
A police case of rioting, assault, robbery, intimidation and trying to disturb communal harmony was registered late at night reportedly after hundreds of people gathered outside the police station demanding action against the accused. The three main accused were arrested within 24 hours of the incident.
The police have appealed to the people not to react to the social media posts on the incident.
"We would like to urge people not to react to social media posts that are communal in nature. We are also keeping a watch on such social media posts. Stringent action will be taken against them," said Ashutosh Bagri, a senior police officer in Indore East police station.
Indore's District Collector, meanwhile, said that some banned organisations have been found to be disturbing the communal harmony in Indore after the incident.
"We are keeping a close watch on them. They are under surveillance. It has also been found that activists of Popular Front of India (PFI) and Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) had come to Indore and instigated the youths for such incidents, a case had been registered against the people who led the protest outside the Central Kotwali police station. Police have been investigating the matter. Some names of PFI and SDPI workers have come fore, a case will be registered against them, too," he said.