New Delhi: A 52-year-old Muslim autorickshaw driver was assaulted in Rajasthan’s Sikar district, allegedly after he refused to shout “Modi zindabad” and “Jai Shri Ram” in the early hours of Friday.

The Indian Express reported that a FIR was filed by Gapphar Ahmad Kacchawa, who was left with broken teeth, a swollen eye and bruises on his cheek. He also claimed that he was robbed of his wristwatch and money.

Kacchawa’s nephew, Shahid, told the Indian Express that his uncle was returning after dropping off passengers to a nearby village at around 4 am, when he was stopped by two men in an SUV asking for tobacco.

When Kacchawa offered them tobacco, they declined and got aggressive. “Instead, they asked him to chant ‘Modi zindabad’ and when he refused, he was slapped by one of the accused. Kachawa ran away from the spot, but the accused chased him and caught up with him near Jagmalpura. They abused him and forced him to chant religious slogans. They also snatched his wallet, watch, and Rs 700 from him, and decamped,” superintendent of police, Gagandeep Singla told the Hindustan Times.

Kacchawa further stated in the FIR that the men pulled his beard, kicked and punched him hard, which broke two or three of his teeth. “I sustained serious injuries on my left eye, cheek and head as they assaulted me with a stick. After beating me up, they said we will rest only after sending you to Pakistan,” he complained.

Shahid stated that his uncle was admitted in a government hospital.

“Following the FIR, we arrested two people yesterday – Shambhudayal Jat, 35, and Rajendra Jat, 30. Preliminary investigation suggests that these two men had parked their vehicle and were consuming alcohol when they stopped Kacchawa, misbehaved and assaulted him,” station house officer, Sadar police station, Sikar, Pushpendra Singh told HT.

The FIR was filed under multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code including 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage reli­gious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or reli­gious beliefs) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace).

This story first appeared on August 8, 2020 in ‘The Wire’ here.