Police in Ranchi a day after protests broke out over remarks made by now-suspended BJP leaders on Propher Muhammad, June 11, 2022. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: Two Muslim youth allege that they were severely assaulted by a Hindutva mob shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ on Friday evening in Ranchi. Both have sustained head injuries.

At 8 pm on June 11, Zeeshan (24) and Faizan (21) decided to get pizza from the nearby Domino’s near the Sujata Chowk in Ranchi. The two had not attended the protest that had taken place earlier in the evening, where two people were killed and 18 people injured after a violent police crackdown. The protest was taken out against the statements of a BJP spokesperson against Prophet Muhammad.

While they were waiting for their takeaway order, a Hindutva mob happened to see them there.

Zeeshan says, “There were at least 30 people, maybe more, and they were carrying weapons. As they saw us they surrounded us and began to ask us our names, and then they started to hit us. They hit my brother many times until his head cracked. When they saw the blood, they ran. I was also bleeding heavily, so we also ran out… we were taken to Sadar Hospital afterwards.”

“While we had just reached they were raising a few slogans like ‘Jai Shri Ram’ but after they caught sight of us they were just yelling ‘chase them, chase them’.

After receiving stitches and shots, Zeeshan says they returned home. Having given the keys to their scooty to the policemen there at the time, he says that their scooty is still at the police station, where they have been called to collect it. They allege that despite having attempted to file an FIR, they have not received a receipt for it.

“The Bajrang Dal has called for a protest in the same area as the police station we have to go to give a statement today, so we have not been able to go yet,” he says.

A complaint was lodged Zeeshan’s uncle, Naseem Akhtar, to the station house officer (SHO), Chutiya Police Station. He alleged in the complaint that an attempt on his nephew’s life was made by 30-40 unidentified persons while he had gone out for pizza at Domino’s at the Sujata Cinema complex.

On the same day, a large protest had taken place following the namaz at Iqra Chowk. With a severe police crackdown, videos shared on social media show how in a bid to disperse crowds, amid reports of stone-pelting, the police also opened fire.

Locals have alleged that Hindutva leader Bhairav (Bhairo) Singh, one of the known history-sheeter, was involved from provocation from inside the Hanuman Mandir, where the stone pelting reportedly began.

In 2018 in Upper Bazaar, Singh ran a campaign against the Muslim shopkeepers saying that he would ensure that they left their shops. Coincidentally, the call for the march on Friday was at the same place at Upper Bazaar-Firayalal.

This article first appeared on thewire.in