Congress sees upsurge in attacks on Muslims as prelude to next year’s assembly elections

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Little girl clinging to father and begging the attackers to spare him

By Abdul Bari Masoud

New Delhi:  Alarmed by an upsurge in the violent hate-incidences in the BJP-ruled states and the silence by the respective state governments, the main opposition  Congress on Tuesday said it is a prelude to “inciting communal conflict and polarisation” ahead of next year’s assembly elections particularly in crucial state of UP.  Referring the Indore incident involving the beating up of a bangle seller,   the party asked whether there was any rule of law in force.

A 25-year-old man selling bangles on the streets was beaten up by a radical Hinudtva mob in Madhya Pradesh’s commercial city Indore on Sunday. The victim was also booked under various sections of IPC. Earlier, in Ujjain city, the police booked four Muslims under draconian NSA as the Police claimed   they were shouting “Pakistan Zindbad”. Police did not deem it fit to verify the video before invoking such a dreaded act.  It is said people were shouting “ Quazi sb Zindabad”  in the Muharram Procession.

Expressing grave concern, senior Congress leader and former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram termed “These incidents as a prelude to inciting communal conflict, violence and polarisation in the run up to the next round of state elections.”

“Ghaziabad, Kanpur and now Indore. Who are these persons who are emboldened to decide what is right and what is wrong,” he said.

“If the State Home Minister will justify mob violence and vigilante justice, why is he remaining in the chair of Home Minister,” he asked.  The former union minister said.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also expressed his concern over the growing mob-lynching incidents under the watchful eyes of Police. Surjewala said it is a mockery of the rule of law that a poor bangle seller will be beaten up and sent to jail too.

“These goons are insulting the great Hindu culture by spreading violence. Shame on you, is this the rule of law,” he asked in a tweet in Hindi.

Three persons have been arrested on charges of assaulting the bangle seller, but the episode took a new turn when he himself was later booked under the POCSO Act for allegedly touching a 13-year-old girl inappropriately and was detained, officials said.

The bangle seller identified as Tasleem Ali was also accused of possessing fake documents related to his identity, they said.

The officials said the minor girl filed a complaint with the Banganga police station in Indore against Ali, alleging he introduced himself as Golu, son of Mohan Singh to sell bangles at her home on Sunday and after describing her as very beautiful, he touched her inappropriately.

When the girl raised an alarm, her mother rushed out of home and when the bangle seller tried to escape from the spot, neighbors and other local residents caught and thrashed him, they said, adding three persons were arrested for assaulting him.

In the neighboring state of Rajasthan’s Ajmer city two beggars were beaten up by Hindutva radicals asking them to go to Pakistan. The state police promptly took action and arrested five persons where  Congress is running the government.

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