On Friday, a Nepali man was tonsured and forced to shout ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Nepal PM Murdabad’ days after Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli stoked a huge political and diplomatic storm after claiming that Lord Rama was born in Nepal. The video of the incident was widely circulated on social media after a person named Arun Pathak, recorded and shared it on his Facebook profile. It is reported that Pathak was behind the shocking incident.
In the video, an unidentified man was seen sitting without any clothes on the upper part of his body near a river in Varanasi. A mob led by Pathak confronted him on the banks of the river and made him shout slogans against PM Oli and Nepal. While shaving his head, he was made to praise India for providing Nepalis livelihood opportunities.
Following the incident, various media reports suggested that Arun Pathak, the main culprit behind the attack on Nepali citizen belonged to a fringe right-wing group, to allege that it was Hindu groups who had forced the Nepali citizen to shout ‘Jai Shri Ram’.
The Hindu, in its report, stated that the Nepali citizen was attacked by a fringe group led by Arun Pathak. They even went on to say that Arun Pathak was the convenor of Vishwa Hindu Sena.
However, when we looked into the Facebook profile, it was revealed that Arun Pathak belonged to Shiv Sena, currently the ‘secular’ alliance partner of Congress party in Maharashtra. In his Facebook profile, one can see that he describes himself as a “disciple of Bala Saheb Thackeray”.
In another image, the accused Arun Pathak was also seen with Uddhav Thackeray, the chief of Shiv Sena. Arun Pathak was also the district chief of Shiv Sena in Varanasi from 2000 to 2003. He is the chief general secretary and spokesperson of Shiv Sena in Uttar Pradesh state.
Interestingly, Arun Pathak is not new to vandalism. In 2016, Arun Pathak had also led a protest against the musical concert of Pakistani Ghazal virtuoso Ghulam Ali at Varanasi. Shiv Sena leader Arun Pathak was forefront at opposing Ghulam Ali’s concert and had posted several posters against the event at Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi.
However, the media conveniently ignored Pathak’s links with Shiv Sena and accused him of belonging to some other Hindu outfits.
Meanwhile, following the attack on Nepali citizen by Shiv Sena leader Pathak and his mob, the Varanasi police have registered an FIR against the accused under IPC Sections 505 (2) and 295 and Section 67 of the IT Act at the Bhelupur police station.