Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Assault on Muslim teens in Karnataka’s Mudigere sparks outrage

In a disturbing incident that unfolded on Tuesday, 09 January, in Mudigere, Chikmagalur district of Karnataka, two Muslim teenagers were seen brutally attacked by a group of right-wing individuals. The video of the attack has surfaced on social media.

cousins Mohammed Munaaz (18) and Sameer (19) were targeted in the vicinity of the Mudigere bus stand while attempting to collect Sameer’s mobile phone from a shop. Sameer’s mother married a non-Muslim and gave birth to Sameer. But following the death of her husband, she embraced Islam with her son.

Sameer claims that he had previously experienced assault and kidnapping six months earlier. However, the incident was kept undisclosed to avoid complications within the family.

According to Munaaz, the perpetrators initially confronted Sameer but he stopped them. Sameer later went to a nearby college to collect his phone while maintaining a distance from the assailants.

The situation escalated when the perpetrators, joined by their friends in a car, attempted to kidnap both Munaaz and Sameer. Failing in their attempt, the assailants resorted to physical violence, beating the teens with a lever. A sizable crowd gathered, yet bystanders remained passive, and the assault continued until the police intervened.

Munaaz recounted the horrifying incident, stating, “I think around eight to ten people were hitting us mercilessly, and the crowd did nothing but become mute spectators. We were beaten mercilessly with levers, slippers, and whatnot. None came forward to help us; we underwent the attack until the police arrived.”

To their dismay, when the police arrived, the cousins were taken into custody, as the assailants falsely alleged that they were involved with Hindu girls. Munaaz emphasized the baselessness of these claims and mentioned the assailants’ unwarranted attacks.

He further disclosed a prior incident where he and a friend were chased by two individuals on a bike, threatening him with arrest. The assailants demanded personal details and addresses, displaying aggressive behaviour under the influence of alcohol.

“You won’t be surprised if I say I was made to wait for 30 minutes for a glass of water in the police station. I was suffocating due to the beatings on my chest and head. The police only filed an FIR from my end, and when Sameer asked them to file an FIR, the police denied his request.”

Currently admitted to a government hospital in Chikmagaluru, Munaaz expressed unease about the assailants being released on station bail shortly after their arrest. The family is apprehensive and Munaaz stresses the need for a return to normalcy.

Unfortunately, Munaaz hasn’t seen Sameer since the day of the attack, and the family has restricted their interaction to prevent unnecessary tension. Despite the challenges, they are heartened by public support and protests by Muslim organizations, as well as political parties in the district.

Munaaz believes that the root cause of these incidents is Sameer’s conversion to Islam.

The FIR filed enumerates charges against the accused under sections 143 (participation in an unlawful assembly), 144 (joining an unlawful assembly armed with a deadly weapon), 148 (rioting armed with a deadly weapon), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 504 (intentional insult with the intent to provoke a breach of the peace), 506 (criminal intimidation), and 149 (offence committed in furtherance of the assembly’s common objective) of the Indian Penal Code.

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