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Imam Forced into Chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ at Gunpoint in Uttar Pradesh

Protesters in New Delhi demonstrate Dec. 27, 2022 against what they say is hate speech against Muslims by Hindu leaders. Adnan Abidi / Reuters

In another disturbing incident of religious violence, a mosque imam in Baghpat district, Uttar Pradesh, was targeted and subjected to a brutal assault by alleged Hindu extremist elements.

After performing ‘namaz’ at a mosque, the victim, Hafiz Mujib-ur-Rehman, was on his way back home when he was accosted and subjected to disrespectful behavior by three men riding a motorcycle.

The attackers mercilessly attacked him and subjected him to physical abuse.

The assailants, reportedly brandishing weapons, instilled fear and terror among the community members present at the scene.

The imam, under the threat of further violence, was coerced into chanting slogans that are associated with Hindu religious fervor, including “Jai Shri Ram” (Victory to Lord Ram).

Hafiz Mujib-ur-Rehman, the victim, said, “I was wearing a kurta pyjama and a skull cap. They stopped me, pulled my beard, wrapped a saffron scarf around my neck and forced me to chant (Hindu religious) slogans.”

“One of them filmed the entire act on his mobile phone. They threatened to kill me if I reported the matter to the police. I was scared, ran home, and did not tell anyone. My family sensed something wrong and I had to eventually tell them what had happened,” he told IANS.

Three men have been apprehended by the authorities for assaulting a 44-year-old cleric and reportedly pressuring him to recite ‘religious slogans’.

According to the IANS report, ASP (Baghpat) Manish Kumar Mishra, said, “An FIR under IPC sections 153-B (imputations, assertions, prejudicial to national-integration), 342 (wrongful confinement), 505 and 506 (criminal intimidation) was registered against unidentified persons.”

He said, “Later, the accused, identified as Rahul Chauhan, Jitendra Sharma and Neeraj Kumar were arrested and sent to jail. They are residents of Muhalla Deshraj in Baghpat. During interrogation, they told police they were inebriated at the time of the incident. Further investigation is on.”

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