Three Muslim youth were grievously injured when a group of men allegedly associated with right-wing groups beat them up following an altercation over harassment of their friend at tuition centre over skull cap in the Ilkal area of Bagalkot in Karnataka on Monday.
The police said they have opened investigations into the matter but detained people from ‘both sides’ by filing two FIRs. Lokesh Bharapa Jagala, the Superintendent of Police of the district, told Clarion India over the phone that the police have charged the accused with Sections of the Indian penal code that deal with assault, rioting and grievous injury. He, however, refused to identify the accused named in the FIRs saying that they will issue a statement when the case reaches the court.
Saleem Malik, a local, said that Rehan, a class 9th student, was jeered at and harassed by his classmates for wearing a skull cap outside the tuition centre. Malik blamed Rehan’s teacher for provoking the fellow classmates as he objected to his skull cap.
After the incident, Malik said, Rehan returned to his home and complained about it to his elders. Three boys, Sahil, who is a student activist, Sameer and Muhammad, decided to meet Rehan’s classmates who harassed him and enquire about the incident, Malik said, adding, “however, when they went there they were confronted by a group of 15 men who beat them so much that they were injured.”
A video clip that has surfaced on social media show Muhammad’s face and shirt smeared with blood.
All the three were hospitalised after the assault. However, the attackers stormed the hospital and beat them again. Another video shows a man shouting inside a hospital and threatening them for complaining to the police — he would stab them if his name came up in the FIR.
According to Malik, the men beat Sahil while he was lying on the bed. Bharapa, the SP, however, refuted allegations of assault inside the hospital. “There was some disturbance at the hospital and we initiated action.”
Malik said that the police came to the hospital late evening and picked up Sahil and Sameer who are currently held in police custody.
The incident is yet another case of communal violence targeting Muslims in Karnataka. Two weeks back, a 24-year-old Muslim youth was brutally murdered by men associated with Hindutva outfit Ram Sene over his reported love affair with a Hindu girl.