Mentally unsound Muslim man beaten, forced to chant Jai Sri Ram in Dhanbad, Jharkhand; one accused arrested

Jharkhand is the third state after Rajasthan and West Bengal to pass a Bill criminalizing mob-lynching. | Photo: AFP

Only weeks after the government in Jharkhand passed a bill to criminalize mob lynching, a mentally unsound Muslim man was beaten, made to do sit-ups, lick his spit and chant Jai Sri Ram allegedly by members of the BJP in Dhanbad. 

Sami Ahmad |

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JHARKHAND — A mentally unstable Muslim man was dragged, beaten, made to sit up, lick his spit and chant Jai Sri Ram allegedly by members of BJP in Dhanbad, Jharkhand, around 150 kilometres north-east of the capital Ranchi on Friday. 

The victim was accused by the BJP leaders of abusing their leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

As per his family, the victim Jishan Khan is being treated for his mental illness at the Central Institute of Psychiatry (CPI) in Ranchi and several other places. 

Pertinently, the Jharkhand State Assembly passed a bill The Jharkhand (Prevention of Mob Violence and Mob Lynching) Bill to criminalize mob lynching in the state. 

What seems to have triggered this ill-treatment of the Muslim man, a resident of Shamsher Nagar, Wasseypur, Dhanbad is his wearing a Pathan suit (a dress commonly worn by India’s Muslims), as his brother alleged in the application for the F.I.R. filed with the Dhanbad Sadar police station. 

As per reports, BJP leaders had assembled at City Centre, Gandhi Chowk in Dhanbad to stage a sit-in protest against the alleged security breach of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Punjab. It was at this time the victim was passing through the area. 

One accused arrested
After the prompt direction by Jharkhand’s chief minister Hemant Soren, Dhanbad police swung into action and arrested one of the five named accused. The F.I.R also mentions five other unnamed accused. 

The Deputy Commissioner of Dhanbad replied to the tweet by the chief minister saying that the matter was being investigated as per the F.I.R. while Dhanbad police informed in reply that the matter has been taken cognizance of and necessary action was being taken. 

Rehan Khan, the younger brother of the victim Jishan, told that Kashif was studying engineering in Chennai but was brought back due to a psychiatric problem he was brought back. “Generally, we keep a close watch of his movements. But as it was Friday, we were preparing for the prayers, he meanwhile had left the house. The place of occurrence is some two and a half kilometers away from our mohalla. When we returned from the Friday prayers, I got a call from a friend about this incident,” Rehan said. 

In the video of the incident—which has since gone viral—a group of men and a woman is seen verbally abusing and beating the Muslim man. The assaulters can be heard repeating ‘Ham log Hindu hain’ and hurling verbal abuses at the man. The Muslim victim was forced to say ‘Galti Ho Gaya’ and do sit-ups and to lick his spit. Finally, the assaulters ask him to chant ‘Jai Sir Ram’—a slogan started during the anti-Babri Masjid campaign by the right-wing groups to taunt and terrify the Muslim community. 

The victim’s brother has alleged in his application to the police that his brother had stopped at the place where the sit-in by the BJP members was going on. “A few people had dragged him blaming him for wearing a Pathan suit and beat him,” he said. 

A local social worker Kumar Abhishek, who has signed the application for F.I.R. filed by the victim’s brother Rehan, told that he knew most of the accused, adding, “These men are involved in such matters also in the past.” 

He alleged that the assaulters are “henchmen of the BJP leaders.”

The police are investigating the incident with the help of CCTV footage collected from nearby shops to identify the other culprits. 

S.H.O. Vinay Kumar told that he cannot divulge the sections applied in the F.I.R. before the legal procedure but hinted that sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 153 (rioting) might be applied. 

BJP dismisses communal angle
BJP’s Dhanbad Member of Parliament (MP) Pashupatinath Singh said that he came to know about the incident only later as he arrived at the protest site late—local press reported. 

Maintaining that this was no case of mob lynching, MP Singh questioned why “he (victim) was present at the protest site and hurled verbal abuse at state BJP president Deepak Prakash.”

M.L.A. Raj Sinha of BJP is of the same view but admitted that “a few people had beaten the victim.” 

“Some people are unnecessarily trying to give it a communal angle,” he said. 

Dr Irfan Ansari of Congress is M.L.A. of nearby Jamtara. He alleged that the victim was ‘tortured’ as he belongs to the Muslim community. Terming the allegation of abusing the BJP leaders as a complete lie, Ansari questioned, “Do they (BJP leaders) question that the victim was asked about his religion?” 

Ansari has demanded that all the culprits be punished accordingly. “It was the BJP whose members started mob-lynching and the fresh incident is quite shameful,” he said. 

‘No permission granted for BJP protest’
The local Dhanbad administration has started an investigation into how the BJP staged the sit-in protest while there is an ongoing ban on such gatherings due to Covid-19 norms. 

Sub Divisional Officer Prem Kumar Mani said that “there was no permission taken from the administration for this programme.” 

“There was a torchlight procession by the youth wing of BJP for which too no permission was sought,” he said. 

He added that the Circle Officer of Dhanbad has been asked to enquire the entire episode and an F.I.R. can be registered after getting the CO’s report. 


Sami Ahmad is a journalist based in Patna, Bihar. He tweets at @samipkb.