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Bengaluru: Reports claim Hindu shop-owner attacked for playing Hanuman Chalisa near mosque, police ‘reluctantly’ file FIR after locals protest, communal angle denied

The victim, Mukesh alleged that since he opened his shop two months ago, the accused had been making “roll calls” and trying to extort money from him. Meanwhile, the police has told OpIndia that there is no communal angle in the case

In Karnataka’s Bengaluru, a Hindu shop owner named Mukesh was allegedly attacked on Sunday (17th March) by a group of youth for playing Hanuman Chalisa and other Hindu devotional songs in his shop, which is located near a mosque. The incident took place on Jumma Masjid Road in the Siddanna Galli area.

According to an Asianet Kannada report, the victim runs a shop named Vardhaman Telecom in Siddanna Galli. A CCTV footage of the incident shows the 5 to 6 accused coming to the victim’s shop on Sunday evening.

Initially, a verbal argument ensues as seen in the video. The argument soon escalated to assault as the accused youths dragged the Hindu victim out of his shop and thrashed him. The footage shows the victim singlehandedly confronting the attackers. However, he was seen getting knocked to the ground.

Speaking about the incident, victim Mukesh Kumar told Asianet Kannada, “As usual in the shop, I used to sing bhajans in the evening during the puja. They came to the shop and asked, “Why are you playing bhajans during our Azaan time?” They then proceeded to attack him and initially tried to stop him. First, he took the speaker and hit me on the head. It was as if he had a weapon in his hand. That’s why it hurt so much.”

Mukesh further alleged that since he opened his shop two months ago, the accused had been making “roll calls” and trying to extort money from him.

The Hindu victim submitted a complaint at Halasuru Gate Police Station demanding that an FIR be registered. However, it was claimed that the police were reluctant to register an FIR against the accused. 

Following this, a large group of local traders gathered outside the police station and pressured the authorities to register an FIR. Subsequently, the police lodged an FIR and initiated an investigation.

Speaking to OpIndia, Halasuru Gate Police Station incharge said that the three main accused identified as Suleiman, Shahnawaz and Rohit have been arrested so far.

The officer denied the charges against the police, however, confirmed that around a hundred people had gathered outside the police station on Sunday to protest. The officer denied any communal angle in the matter and said that the accused persons and the victim know each other.

“The FIR has been registered, and three people have been arrested. Three main accused were arrested yesterday night and an FIR has been registered. Enquiry is going on. Suleiman, Shahnawaz and Rohit are the main accused. There is no communal angle. It was about playing a song near the masjid. They [the accused] were telling the complainant to lower the volume of the speakers. There was an altercation over this,” the Halasuru Gate Police Station incharge said.

When OpIndia asked about the alleged reluctance in registering FIR in the matter, the officer said, “No, we had immediately done an FIR, took action and conducted searches…but some people diverted the matter saying it was a Hindu-Muslim fight.”

Speaking about the protest, the officer told us that around a hundred people came from the Nagarapet and Kumbarpet areas from the sides of both, the complainant and the accused, creating a nuisance.

When asked about what measures are being undertaken to arrest the rest of the accused the officer said, “Inquiry is going on. After inquiry, all those involved will be arrested.”

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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