- Young man beaten up in Muzaffarnagar, allegedly by BJP workers
- Had highlighted lack of jobs during a TV program
- India's unemployment at highest since 2016, report said on Tuesday
In horrific footage that has become all too familiar, a gang of men can be seen hounding a young man, beating him mercilessly with everything they have. One of the attackers calls him a "terrorist". The young man's crime: talking about the lack of jobs in the country on a TV news program.
The young man was thrashed, allegedly by BJP workers, in western Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar on Wednesday.
In town to write his board exams, he was taking part in a news show as a member of a crowd.
But the recording was interrupted when he criticised the government. A group of men pounced on him and started beating him savagely. That they were being recorded seemed to incite no sense of fear - betraying their sense of impunity and entitlement: No one will have to pay for this.
"I just said there are no jobs. They started saying you are a terrorist, you are against India and the BJP," he told local news channels, panting for breath after the attack.
The Muzaffarnagar Police has promised action but there have been no arrests yet. The faces of the attackers can clearly be seen in the video.
Hyderabad politician Asaduddin Owaisi said it showed a frustrated BJP ahead of the elections. "BJP workers know that they cannot defend Modi's development track record. So the only thing they can do is call someone an 'aatankwaadi' & beat them up (sic)," he said.
Jobs have become a major issue ahead of the upcoming general elections with the opposition accusing the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government of falling far short of its promise on generating employment.
The unemployment rate in India rose to 7.2 per cent in February, the highest since September 2016, and up from 5.9 per cent in the same month last year, according to data compiled by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) and released on Tuesday.
Wednesday's incident took place just a day before the one in Lucknow, where in strikingly similar fashion and with identical alacrity, two dry fruit vendors from Kashmir were attacked by saffron-clad men from a fringe right-wing group on Wednesday. The incident appeared to be part of the nationwide backlash against Kashmiris following the February 14 terror attack in Pulwama. Four of the attackers have been arrested after videos of the attack were widely shared.
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