By Ishita Mishra
MEERUT: An interfaith couple was accosted, the Muslim man beaten up and the Hindu woman forced to hit him in the face with slippers in public as a video was shot to humiliate them.
Members of the Hindu Jagran Manch, a right-wing outfit, then tried to get the Muslim man arrested for “forced conversion” but were later booked for rioting.
It was on Friday at a busy market in Meerut that the couple was sitting under a tree.
“A shopkeeper saw them and passed on the message,” said district president of Hindu Jagran Manch, Sachin Sirohi.
He landed there with 11 other men and confronted the couple. What were their names, they asked.
The woman was Hindu and the man Muslim. They launched an attack on the man. After beating him up, they turned their attention to the woman.
“Remove your slippers and hit him hard in the face,” one of them is heard saying in the 56-second video they shot which was shared widely. When she hit him lightly, the men ordered, “Is that all? Hit him with more force.”
She slapped him with her slippers twice, after which the men said, “We are your brothers. We are standing here. Slap him with all you have.” One of them screams at the man, “How dare you smoke standing next to her?” while another says, “There are photos of women on his phone.” At this point, the video ends.
The right-wing outfit members then made the man hold his ears through his legs and beat him up again. This went on for about 30 minutes, after which the men dragged the man to the police station — they wanted to get him booked for “forced conversion”.
The woman, however, stood her ground. The man had not misbehaved with her, she told the police, and she was with him of her own accord. The Hindu Jagran Manch men then tried to get another person to complain, tracking down the mother of a female friend of the woman — who gave a written complaint to the police saying that the man had dragged her minor daughter onto the streets of the market against her will.
“We found that the complaint was wrong and filed under pressure,” Devesh Singh, circle officer, Civil Lines, told TOI.
“The woman said she had willingly accompanied the man. We have initiated an investigation against Sirohi and several other unidentified members of his organisation.”
An FIR was lodged on Saturday night against them for rioting, causing hurt and abetment of offence. No arrest has been made yet.
Sirohi said he was not in the wrong: “We only want to ensure anti-social elements do not malign our society.”
This story first appeared on timesofindia.indiatimes.com