Four persons have been arrested on the charges of assaulting two Kashmiri men selling dry fruits on the roadside in Lucknow on Wednesday. The video of the assault went viral on social media prompting the Lucknow police to register a on late Wednesday evening.
While one of the culprit, identified as Bajrang Sonkar was picked up late Wednesday night, three more were arrested on Thursday. The accused Himanshu Garg, Anirudh Kumar, Amar Mishra and Sonkar belong to Vishwa Hindu Dal Trust run by one Ambuj Nigam.
An FIR has been registered in Hassanganj police station under Sections 147, 323, 504, 153A and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code and 7CLA Act, said SSP Lucknow Kalanidhi Naithani.
Sonkar has around a dozen criminal cases against him till 2011, including murder, loot and Arms Act, said the officer.
“From the investigation so far, possibility emerges that the accused persons who are members of this Trust, executed the incident as part of a common thinking,” said Mr. Naithani.
The victims belong to Kulgam in Jammu and Kashmir. In a video message released by the Lucknow police, the two Kashmiri men were seen thanking the police for their action and said they were satisfied with the quick action.
Video goes viral
The Kashmiri men, on Wednesday, were beaten with sticks, slapped, and subjected to verbal abuses and anti-Kashmiri remarks, as per footage of the incident widely shared on social media.
The incident took place late afternoon at the busy Daliganj bridge where vendors set up stalls to sell vegetables, fruits and other items.
As per reports, a few men, some of them dressed in saffron, de-boarded a car and first accosted the four Kashmir men who had laid out their wares on the road and demanded them to display their identity cards.
While two Kashmiris escaped the scene, the other two were assaulted by the miscreants, with one of the victims seen crying.
Local onlookers and motorists soon come to the victims’ rescue.
In the video, a local was seen intervening and asking why were they beating up the Kashmiris, to which an assaulter replied: “They are Kashmiris. They are pelting stones there.”
In response, the onlooker asked them to not take law into their hands, even as the saffron-clad men demand to check the identification card of the Kashmiri vendor.
While the identity of the suspects is yet to be independently verified, on Facebook several profiles shared live links of the assault, providing details of the incident and took credit for the attack.
One profile by the name of Himanshu Garg, who claims to be the state president of the Vishwa Hindu Dal, gloated over the assault on the Kashmiris. He gave credit to his aides, Amar Mishra and Bajrang, for the assault and asked his followers to share the videos widely.
The incident comes after the Supreme Court recently directed all States and Union Territories to ensure that Kashmiris, particularly students, feel secure, amid reports from that they were being targeted following the February 14 suicide attack in Pulwama where more than 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed.