A 25-year-old bangle seller, Tasleem Ali, who a group of men thrashed in Indore on Sunday, August 22, has now been booked on charges of harassment.
Ali was thrashed for concealing his identity with a Hindu name while selling bangles on the occasion of Rakshabandhan and allegedly molesting women. The incident took place in the Banganga area of Govind Nagar Colony.
The video of the incident was widely circulated on social media, where the group could be seen beating him. One of them took out bangles from the bag and threw them away, while the other held his collar. The men warned him of stepping in the 'Hindu kshetra (area)'. They could be provoking others present to beat him up.
Booked On A Minor's Complaint
Ali was booked on a complaint by the minor daughter of one of the attackers, The Indian Express reported.
The girl alleged that Ali had visited their house in the afternoon, win his father's absence. He identified himself as Golu and showed a half-burnt identity card, and the family purchased dozens of bangles from him. Later, when the minor's mother went inside to fetch water for him, he grabbed the girl's hand, saying he would help her wear them.
The minor said Ali inappropriately touched her cheeks. When she screamed, he threatened her with her life and ran away, the girl claimed.
He has been charged under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force on a woman), 354-A (sexual harassment), 467, 468, 471 (forgery), 420 (cheating) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code and under the POCSO Act.
Ali said he has been selling bangles in Indore for the last six years. When he called out for buyers, a man grabbed him and asked his name. He said he was beaten up after revealing that he was a Muslim.
"First, I told him 'Bhura', his nickname on my voter ID card. When he asked if I was a Muslim and I said yes, he again asked for my name. I hesitated and then said, Tasleem. He started beating me up, asking how I could come to their area despite being a Muslim. He called some other people, and they too hit me. The locals alleged that I misbehaved with his mother and sisters," Ali was quoted as saying.
"They only stopped when a man asked who would be responsible if I died in front of his house. I fled and went straight to the police station," he added.
When he approached the department, they did not register the complaint immediately. The police said they swiftly came into action after the video was brought to their attention; however, some claim they arrived after locals gathered outside Kotwali police station.
One of the locals showed the video to the police after which they went to the house of one of the assailants and brought his money and belongings back.
Earlier, the police had detained three people identified as Rakesh Pawar, Rajkumar Bhatnagar and Vivek Vyas. The three were identified from the video clip and were the main accused, who were seen attacking Ali and provoking locals.
They were booked on the basis of Ali's complaint. He said he was simply selling his products when the men attacked him after he disclosed his name. The group allegedly broke his mobile phone, robbed ₹ 10,000 from him and threw the left items and other material worth ₹ 25,000.
After the incident, Uttar Pradesh Congress leader Imran Pratapgarhi had said he would compensate the amount looted from Ali and called out the Madhya Pradesh government for giving a free hand to the people to attack.
Seller Containing Two Aadhar Cards
According to the report, Home Minister Narottam Mishra said that Ali was selling bangles with a different identity and had two Aadhaar cards and a voter ID card under different names like Mohar Singh, Mohar Ali, etc. However, he denied having separate identity cards.