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Bengaluru: BJP leaders and Hindu advocacy groups stage protest after a shopowner was assaulted for playing Hanuman Chalisa

The protests were in response to an attack against a Hindu shop owner by a group of youth for playing Hanuman Chalisa and other Hindu devotional songs in his shop, located in the vicinity of a mosque.

On Tuesday (19th March), many BJP leaders and members of Hindu organisations staged a massive protest in Central Bengaluru’s Nagarthpete area. Raising slogans of Bharat Mata ki Jai and chanting Hanuman Chalisa, they expressed solidarity with the Hindu shopowner Mukesh who was assaulted by a group of locals, including Muslim youth, for playing Hanuman Chalisa in his shop. 

According to a Republic TV report, protestors have gathered in large numbers outside the shop where the incident took place on Sunday (17th March). They have demanded stringent action against the perpetrators involved in the incident. In the video, the protestors can be seen in large numbers gathered in the street on Jumma Masjid Road in the Siddanna Galli area, raising slogans of Bharat Mata ki Jai and chanting Hanuman Chalisa. 

In the video shared by ANI, a large number of protestors can be seen holding saffron flags which have photographic inscriptions of Hindu deities on them and raising chants of Jai Shri Ram. 

In the wake of the massive protest, local police also arrived at the spot in the Siddanna Galli area. After reaching the protest site, Police officers tried to clear the lanes and pushed several protestors aside. As per the ANI video, the police also videographed the protest outside the shop where the altercation took place on Sunday (17th March). 

Major developments in the case

After the incident, victim Mukesh’s father came before the media and shared his ordeal. He lamented that his son was brutally assaulted for simply playing Hanuman bhajans inside his store.

He said that Mukesh, his elder son, was playing the Bhajans softly inside the shop, yet the Muslim youths thrashed him. “When I reached, I saw Mukesh soaked in blood,” Gopal Singh told the media while demanding strict action against the perpetrators.

“I was not present here but my son told me that he was playing devotional songs at that time. In the evening we do puja, so obviously, he must have played bhajans only. I learnt that they came to fight with him. The sound was low only, however, they beat him up. We want justice…,” said Gopal Singh, father of Mukesh, who fell victim to an attack by a group of Islamists for upholding his religious convictions.

Meanwhile, the Bengaluru Hindu shop owner Mukesh also told the media how a group of local youths, including Muslims, in the area attacked him and threatened to kill him if he failed to comply with their demands to stop playing Hindu devotional songs.

Regarding the miscreant’s claim that it was time for Azaan, Mukesh added that he attempted to persuade them that there was still time for Azaan, but they refused to hear him and grabbed him by the neck. When Mukesh stepped out of his shop to confront them, the accused started beating him up and threatened to stab him with a knife, he said.

Mukesh responded in the positive when asked if he would be able to identify the accused. He said they were Muslim youths from the area.

The Bengaluru Police, however, has maintained that there was no communal angle in the incident.

Yesterday, Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya, after meeting Mukesh, said, “By tomorrow, if the other three accused aren’t arrested, the BJP will call for a bandh in Nagarathpete and will protest outside the shop.”

Charging the Congress with appeasement politics, he added, “The emboldening of such elements is a direct result of Congress’s appeasement politics. Just a few days back, people who shouted Pakistan Zindabad were given bail.” 

He asserted that under the Congress government, FIRs are deliberately filed in such a manner that the main issue of it is removed. He added that had people not intervened in this case, the Hanuman Chalisa angle would not have been included in the FIR making it a dummy FIR. 

In a scathing attack against Congress’ Karnataka government, he further said, “With such political backing available to Jihadis, naturally such incidents of crime against Hindus have risen in our State.” Reportedly, the five accused were identified as Suleman, Shahnawaz, Rohith, Dyanish and Taruna. The police arrested three accused based on the CCTV footage of the shop while three others are still absconding. Further investigation is underway.

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