The beating of three Sikh sewadars at the hands of a few villagers in Rajasthan more than a month ago, which failed to get attention of Rajasthan police at the time, seems to have finally got their attention, after a video of the incident went viral on social media.
Rajasthan police have confirmed that a video circulating on social media of three to four Sikh men being beaten by a mob is not fake, although the version of events is different from what is being claimed in posts on social media. The assault took place about a month and a half ago in Chainpura village of Ajmer district. Police claim that they did not take any action when the incident was reported then since an official complaint was not lodged. But after senior officials saw the video on social media, they were impelled to take action.
“The allegation that particular time was that villagers said that one of them (the victims) had teased a woman somewhere in the village or something like that. And immediately in reaction to that they came and beat up these people. Then the police came and they were brought to the police station. Immediately they (the Sikh men) were taken into custody,” N Ravindra Kumar Reddy, the Additional Director General of Police (law and order), told YKA.
“It was a rumour that they had outraged the modesty of a woman, misbehaved with a woman or something like that. And that’s why it happened,” Reddy told YKA, adding that the victims of the assault were released after nobody came forward to lodge a complaint.
“When we went there, we found that there was a Bolero and the sardaars were sitting there. We produced them before the SDM (Sub-Divisional Magistrate). Apart from that, we also asked them whether anything happened with them. But they didn’t give us any report,” a senior police official, who spoke with the victims at the time of the incident, told YKA. A sarpanch first informed the Nasirabad Sadar police station, the official added .
The reason why the men were assaulted remains unclear. According to the official, police was told that the three men were asking villagers to donate foodgrain and threatening people who refused to do so. However, according to Reddy, the rumour was that the men were sexually harrassing women. The victims belong to Kairthal in Alwar district, the senior police official from Nasirabad said.
Police are now trying to find the men who were beaten up, so that a formal complaint can be lodged. “A new SP has taken over. So we have asked him to send the report and we have asked him to send someone there and ask them if they are willing to file a case and take action against these people,” Reddy told YKA.
Reddy discounted social media messages claiming the victims had come from Haridwar. He said it was the registration plate of a vehicle seen in the video that helped police discover where the incident had happened. “We have a small WhatsApp group. I had put it on that and asked to report back to me if they came across any incident like that. So then the Ajmer SP said, ‘Yes, sir, we have a report like this and the numbers tallied’. All this they went back and found,” he told YKA.
The chairman of the State Minorities Commission, Jasbir Singh, too has now sought a report from the Ajmer district administration within 10 days, PTI reported.
Note: An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated that the persons who assaulted were ‘released’ because there was no complaint. The persons seen assaulting the men in the video have not been arrested so far.
Update: A previous title incorrectly mentioned that the men were lynched, which has been edited to ‘beaten’.