On June 17, in close proximity to the Chief Minister’s residence in Bhubaneswar, a violent Hindu mob targeted two Muslim youths, subjecting them to a brutal assault and callously restraining them with ropes.

The perpetrators subjected the victims to a harrowing physical ordeal, all the while chanting the slogan “Jai Shree Ram.”

Irshad Ahmed, a 24-year-old employed in the hide and skin industry, said that he and his uncle, Mohammad Abuzar, were subjected to a mob assault when they halted their truck transporting goat carcasses.

He recounted the incident “At first, the mob inquired about the contents of our truck, but inexplicably, they quickly became agitated without any apparent reason. Despite showing them the license, our attempts to reason with them fell on deaf ears.”

“A massive crowd of approximately 500 people assembled, forcibly stripped us of our trousers, bound us with ropes, and subjected us to a degrading walk through piles of garbage,” he said.

“They brandished a razor and proceeded to trim our beards, starting from one side of our faces, while forcing us to chant slogans like ‘Jai Shri Ram’. We resisted initially but when we are brutally beaten, we gave in.”

Mohammad Abuzar, 30, recounted that during the assault, the mob subjected them to verbal abuse while forcibly trimming their beards. Additionally, their trousers were forcibly removed, and chilli powder was maliciously put into their underwear. Shockingly, they were also forced to endure the shoving of sandals into their mouths, all while being tightly bound with ropes.

“While subjecting us to the brutal beating, they repeatedly exclaimed, ‘This is India, not Pakistan! You people come here from Pakistan and slaughter our sacred animal!’” Abuzar recounted.

Mohammad Abuzar’s said when the police arrived at the scene, the mob launched an attack on them, causing the police officers to flee. After a while, another police van arrived, but the mob insisted that they be taken to the police station on foot instead of in a vehicle.

“As they forcefully entered our vehicle, they ransacked it, stealing our belongings such as wallets and mobile phones. Throughout our journey to the police station, we were left stripped of our possessions. Fortunately, someone kindly provided us with a gamcha, which we used to cover our bodies,” he said.

“I endured brutal beatings with a metal rod, resulting in a serious head injury during the incident. My head was severely wounded, and subsequently, I was rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment,” he stated.

Abuzar expressed that during the brutal assault by the mob, he feared that it might be his last day alive.

“Amidst the relentless beatings and excruciating torment, I couldn’t help but think that it might be my last day. At that moment, I remembered Allah,” he said.

What’s astounding is that among the individuals in the mob, some were actually friends of Arshad’s brothers. Arshad said despite his attempt to reason with them, explaining their acquaintance, they still joined in the assault and beat them mercilessly.

Following the incident, Arshad’s uncle proceeded to lodge a formal complaint at a police station. In response, the police registered a case against two identified individuals, namely Jitua and Rasan Jena, along with 20 unknown suspects. The case was registered under sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 384 (extortion), 307 (attempt to murder), 427 (mischief causing damage), and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), based on the details provided in the complaint.

The police stated that there was no cutting of hair, but both the duo involved and the videos which are circulating online contradict this claim, asserting that the incident did, in fact, occur…

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For more background information about Hindu Nationalism in Orissa:

Book: Hindu Nationalism in India’s Present- Narratives from Orissa

Report: Communalism in Orissa