Two men were allegedly threatened and forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad city by some unidentified persons, the second such incident here in the last four days, police said Monday. The incident, which took place on Sunday night at Azad Chowk, triggered tension in the area, following which police stepped up security. Police have registered a case and a search is underway to nab the miscreants, an official said.
Shaikh Amer (24), a delivery boy with food ordering app Zomato, and his friend Shaikh Nasir (26) were waiting to hire an auto-rickshaw when four to five men in a car allegedly intercepted them, abused their religious identity and threatened to kill them if they did not say “Jai Shri Ram”, he said.
The two men, out of fear, then chanted “Jai Shri Ram”, the official said, adding that later, on seeing some passers-by, those in the car fled. Based on a complaint filed by the two men, police registered a case under Indian Penal Code sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with an intent to cause riot) and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings), the official said.
The incident was captured on a CCTV camera and the footage is being examined to identify the car, the official said, adding that it was not clear if the miscreants were armed. Commissioner of Police Chiranjeev Prasad told reporters that “a complaint has been received of two youths intercepted and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ by four to five men in a car.”
“We are trying to identify the vehicle and the accused. Strict action would be taken against them,” he said. The situation is under control, Prasad said, and urged residents to help police in maintaining law and order.
Last Friday, a hotel employee, Imran Ismail Patel, was allegedly thrashed by a group of unidentified persons and forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” near Hudco Corner in Begumpura area of the city. One person was later arrested in connection with the case.
Incidents of members of the minority community being cornered and forced to say “Jai Shri Ram” or ‘hail Lord Ram’ have been reported recently from various parts of the country, including Thane in Maharashtra.