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Elderly Muslim man beaten, beard chopped, forced to chant Hindu god’s slogans in India

NEW DELHI, India: A day after a video of 72-year-old Abdul Samad Saifi being beaten in Ghaziabad, a city in India state Utter Pradesh, and his beard being chopped off went viral, the local police claimed that it was a case of “personal enmity”. Police claimed some people were angry with him because he had given a ‘taweez (amulet)’ to one of the accused for “good fortune” but a mishap occurred in the family, instead.

In a related video that also shared widely, the man was seen complaining that he was also forced to chant “Jai Siya Ram”. The police, however, said this did not happen, and that Saifi’s formal complaint filed on June 7 did not mention this charge.

Police claimed that Saifi had given a ‘taweez (amulet)’ to one of the accused claiming it would bring him good fortune, but a miscarriage in the family irked the man and he then ganged up with the others and beat up Saifi.

Three persons, including a Muslim youth Adil, have been arrested in connection with the assault, even as Adil’s family said he was at the spot “only to save Saifi”.

The police said a hunt is on for the other accused. Of the total “7-8 boys” who tortured Saifi, “3-4 are Hindus, rest Muslims”, Ghaziabad Superintendent of Police (Rural) Iraj Raja said.

While the incident is said to have occurred earlier this month, and even a case was registered on June 7, the matter became a topic of discussion on social media Monday after a mute video of the 72-year-old being beaten up ruthlessly at gunpoint by a group of men and his beard being chopped off surfaced on the internet.

In a separate clip, Saifi can be seen alleging that he was abducted and taken to Hajipur Bheta in UP’s Ghaziabad district from Bulandshahr. His videos and the photos of his wounds evoked massive response across social media. 

In a video uploaded by Samajwadi Party member Ummed Pehalwan Idrisi, Saifi said on June 7: They thrashed me, asked me to chant Jai Siya Ram and when I took Allah’s name, they kicked and punched me more….”

However, contrary to Saifi’s allegations in the video and also in his formal complaint, the police refuted claims that he was targeted because of his religion.

Ghaziabad Superintendent of Police (Rural) Iraj Raja said: “There wasn’t any instance of chanting Jai Shri Ram, it is completely incorrect. He didn’t even mention it while filing the complaint.” The FIR in the case was lodged based on Saifi’s complaint filed on 7 June.

Kallu Gujjar and Adil were arrested Monday, prime accused Parvesh Gujjar had already been in custody in connection with an extortion case since Saturday. “There were a total of 7-8 boys who beat up Saifi, 3-4 of them are Hindus, rest Muslims,” SP Raja said.

Meanwhile, the National Minority Commission has taken note of the incident and asked for a report from the police in seven days.