A mob of over 100 men on Saturday, 21 January allegedly crashed a birthday party in Madhya Pradesh's Indore – and thrashed at least five Muslim men on grounds of 'love jihad'.
What we know so far: A 24-year-old Hindu woman was celebrating her birthday with her friends when the mob – reportedly led by members of right-wing organisation, Bajrang Dal – allegedly barged into her flat and thrashed her male Muslim friends, accusing them of 'love jihad'. They then took them to Indore's MIG Colony police station where the police sent them to jail.
The videos of the incident went viral on Sunday, 22 January.
In one of the videos, a large crowd can be seen climbing the stairs of a multi-storey building. In another video, a masked man was caught beating one of the male friends inside the private residence.
What is the police saying? According to the police, a few boys were brought to the MIG Colony police station by Bajrang Dal members, following which five of them were sent to jail under Section 151 (any assembly of five or more persons likely to cause a disturbance of the public peace) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
However, no action has been taken against any members of the mob that entered the private residence and beat up the boys.
Talking to The Quint, MIG station in-charge Ajay Verma said:
"To avoid quarrel and further dispute, a case under Section 151 of IPC was registered. All of them will be released by tomorrow (Sunday)."
At the time of publishing this article on Monday, 23 January, the men had not been released from jail.
Earlier, Assistant Sub-Inspector Seema Sharma clarified to the media that a group of men and women were celebrating a friend's birthday – and that the girls involved in the matter "didn't file any complaint of love jihad".
Sharma also said that they would investigate the matter further.
What are the Bajrang Dal members saying? After the incident on Saturday, 21 January, Manoj Yadav, who claimed to be zila sanyojak (district coordinator) of Bajrang Dal, said they conducted a 'search' of the apartment.
After receiving the information that five Muslim men and two Hindu women were (present together) in Indore's Sri Nagar area, we went there and searched their rooms. We found intoxicating substances, including liquor bottles. We brought them to the MIG Colony police station, and have complained it to the higher authorities as well.Manoj Yadav
What about action against the vigilantes for trespassing? Expressing concerns over police's action, Ehtesham Hashmi, a lawyer in the Supreme Court of India, said:
Instead of taking action against the members of Bajrang Dal for trespassing, assault, criminal intimidation, and promoting religious enmity between groups, the police jailed the five men whose only fault was that they were celebrating their friend's birthday who belonged to a different religion. This is a gross legal misconduct.