An elderly Muslim man was assaulted in Loni in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad district on June 5 while on his way to a mosque to offer prayers.
The attackers allegedly abducted Abdul Samad from an autorickshaw and dragged him to a hut in a nearby forested area, where they reportedly shouted ‘Jai Shri Ram‘ and ‘Vande Mataram’, which they forced him to shout as well, as they punched and beat him with wooden sticks.
They reportedly also accused Mr Samad of being a Pakistani spy.
One of the attackers – a young man wearing a white full-sleeve T-shirt and blue sweatpants – also threatened Mr Samad with a knife that he used to forcibly hack away at his beard.
A video of the vile incident, in which Mr Samad can be seen pleading with his attackers, has been circulated online.
The video shows at least two other young men attacking Mr Samad – one wearing a black shirt and red trousers, and another in a light-blue T-shirt and grey trousers.
“I was on my way when I was offered a lift. Two more men then got inside (the auto rickshaw) and told me to stay. Then they took me to a room and locked me up and thrashed me. They forced me to chant slogans… they took my mobile away… they got a knife and cut my beard,” a visibly traumatised Mr Samad, who was reduced to tears, said.
“They even showed me a video of other Muslims being attacked,” he said, adding his attackers had boasted to him that they had killed many Muslims before.
Police have registered a case and arrested a Pravesh Gujjar – believed to be the main accused. They are still looking for the others.
Atul Kumar Sonkar, a senior police officer from Loni, said “required steps” were being taken.
वीडियो वायरल के संबंध में पीड़ित की तहरीर पर पूर्व में ही अभियोग थाना लोनी बॉर्डर पर पंजीकृत है मुख्य अभियुक्त वर्तमान में जेल में निरुद्ध है अन्य अभियुक्त गण की शीघ्र गिरफ्तारी कर प्रकरण में आगे की कार्रवाई की जाएगी। वीडियो बाईट CO लोनी 👇 pic.twitter.com/XRMG3zORAh
— GHAZIABAD POLICE (@ghaziabadpolice) June 13, 2021
The accused, who is in police custody, has yet to make a statement or offer his version of events.