Just hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a ‘historic speech‘ about inclusivity and diversity at the Central Hall of the Parliament after returning to power with a decisive mandate, a Muslim man was assaulted in Gurgaon for refusing to remove his skull cap.
25 year old Mohammed Barkat Aalam had come to the city from his home in Begusarai in Bihar just 20 days ago. On Saturday, as he was returning from Sadar Bazar mosque in Jacobpura after offering prayers, he was accosted by six men, four on motor cycles and two on foot.
According to the FIR filed with the local police Aalam said, “The men on foot beat me and said you cannot wear a cap in this area… They had both consumed alcohol.” An FIR was filed under Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), the FIR has been registered under sections 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), and 506 (criminal intimidation).
Aalam further told Indian Express, “The two men told me, ‘remove your cap, it is not allowed here’. I asked them why, but they became aggressive and said ‘why are you wearing a kurta, that is now allowed, take it off’. When I did not do as they asked, one of the men threw my cap on the ground and abused me.”
Aalam asked bystanders for help and allegedly received none. Instead, seeing him resit their pressure, Aalam’s attackers then started pressurising him to chant jingoistic slogans. Aalam told Indian Express that the attacker said to him, “If you keep resisting, we will make you chant Jai Sri Ram and Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.” However, this part was allegedly left out of the FIR, though Aalam insists he told the police the entire story. Aalam also alleges that he was harassed by the police by first making him sit in the police station till 3:30 AM even though the incident took place at about 10:15 PM. He was also called to the police station the following day for an identification parade, but none took place and Aalam was only allowed to leave after Haji Shehzad Khan, chairman of the Muslim Ekta Manch intervened. Khan told Indian Express, that he felt that the police were mentally harassing Aalam.
However, the police deny editing out anything from Aalam’s statement. They also insist that they are trying to identify the accused.