A group of madrasa students were assaulted and allegedly forced to chant “Jai Sri Ram” purportedly by right-wing activists in Unnao, resulting in the injury of at least four students, police said on Friday.
The boys, all of them minors, were allegedly beaten up with cricket stumps and bats, and also attacked with stones.
“Almost all of them had their kurtas ripped by the miscreants,” said Naeem Miswahi, the imam of the Darul Uloom Faize Aam Madrasa.
As per statements by him and the police, around 10-12 boys of the madrasa were playing cricket at the GIC grounds in Unnao on Thursday afternoon, when four youths approached them and asked them to chant “Jai Sri Ram”. When the boys refused to raise the slogan, they were slapped and hit with the stumps, Mr. Miswahi said.
They snatched the two bats of the boys and started attacking them with it and when the madrasa students fled in panic, the miscreants pelted stones at them, said the victims.
Google Maps image locates the Jama Masjid at Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.
“When we did not chant [Jai] Sri Ram, they hit us more,” said one of the boys who was injured by a stone that struck his head. A native of Mathura, he was also beaten up with a cricket bat, he said.
Another boy from Kanpur injured his foot, while one got his hand fractured in the assault. The miscreants also damaged the bicycle of another boy, who was also injured, said Mr. Miswahi.
An FIR was registered against four persons at the Kotwali police station in Unnao on charges of assault, voluntarily causing hurt, intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace and criminal intimidation.
While three accused were identified as Aditya Shukla, Kranti and Kamal, the fourth was unidentified.
Circle Officer Umesh Tyagi said police were investigating the role of the accused persons and whether they belonged to any right-wing group or political party.
Two persons were detained for questioning in the case, said Mr. Tyagi.
After they were detained, a large number of right-wing activists gathered outside the police station and demanded the release of the two persons. They also raised slogans of “Jai Sri Ram”, as per footage of the incident.
Mr. Tyagi, however, did not wish to name any party or outfit yet. “We received an application on a simple piece of paper demanding the release of the persons. There was no organisation named in the letterhead. Everyone submits such applications. There is nothing new in this,” said the officer.
Superintendent of Police (Unnao) M.P. Verma said as far as raising slogans of “Jai Sri Ram” goes, the probe held so far could not confirm it “but we are still investigating the matter.”