Image courtesy: Times of India
Sachin Sirohi, the local chief of Hindu Jagran Manch’s Meerut zone, has been booked for forcing a woman to assault her Muslim friend. Members of the Hindutva supremacist group, had been filmed ‘encouraging’ the woman to slap the man with a slipper saying: “we are your brothers, do not worry”. The police have booked Sirohi and another unnamed person for allegedly abetting the assault against the Muslim man; the video of the assault had gone viral on social media.
Police told the media that they received a complaint from the woman against Sachin Sirohi, the local chief of Hindu Jagran Manch, an unknown accused for making her slap her friend Salman in the Gole Market area of the city on Friday afternoon. The Hindutva group has alleged that Salman was “eve-teasing the woman”, but the woman stated in her complaint to the police that Salman was her friend. She told police that she had come to the market with another friend on Friday where she bumped into Salman. “The three were having a cold drink when a group of people came and said they were from Bajrang Dal,” the complaint reportedly read.
Sirohi, has been booked under IPC sections 323 (assault), 147 (rioting) and 109 (abetting offence), and the police were also accused of “trying to downplay the incident” stated media reports. Sirohi himself told the media that he had “been informed that a Muslim man was sitting with his arms around the neck of a Hindu woman in the presence of a minor. By the time my men and I reached, he was already assaulted. In fact, I tried to stop it… The police have pressured the woman to write the complaint. We need to speak against Muslims who try to harass Hindu women.”
Yesterday, on September 19, Sirohi took to Facebook and posted a status that Salman was allegedly harassing the woman and doing obscene acts with her. He said that Muslim men often harass Hindu women near Gole Market in the Meerut. Sirohi, whose Facebook profile calls him “Hindutva ki awaaz” (Voice of Hindutva), said in the same status that wherever Hindus are in peril, he will be present there, representing the Hindus!
However, according to the woman’s complaint the Hindutva group then asked the three friends their names and on discovering that Salman was a Muslim, told the others to assault him. The FIR registered by the police based on the woman’s complaint stated: “They forced us to beat him (Salman) and told me to get an FIR registered against him or else there will be bad consequences. I have come to the police station. Please lodge an FIR.” She, however, lodged a complaint against the goons, at Civil Lines Police Station. Circle Officer (Civil Lines) Devesh Singh told the media: “We were informed that a woman and her friend had come to visit Gole Market when they were being harassed by a man. A crowd had gathered and a challan was issued against Salman. Following the incident, we received a complaint against a group of people for inciting violence against the woman’s friend. We are ascertaining the facts and an investigation is being carried out.”
According to some reports, just before the woman lodged her complaint against the mobsters, a complaint had been filed by her mother in which she accused “Salman of grabbing her”. However, this complaint was withdrawn and the mother told the police that the complaint was “not written by her but by the members of the Hindu Jagran Manch. Gajendra Singh, the Investigating Officer, told the media that the mother “did not know what was written in her complaint.” Meerut SSP Prabhakar Chaudhary told the media that “the mother and the daughter have given different versions to the police. The incident is directly related to the woman student and therefore her statement is important. We will also scrutinise CCTV footage to know the truth.”
Meerut seems to be emerging as a hotbed for hate crimes over the past few years. Recently, SabrangIndia’s sister publication, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), had approached the National Commission for Minorities in July, against one Vikas Sehrawat alias Malik Bhai, a known disciple of hate machine Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati.
His vile and incendiary videos against Muslims, especially women, caught CJP’s attention, compelling them to demand action against him. In a positive step, the NCM took cognisance of the complaint and directed Meerut’s Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) to file a detailed report in the matter under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.