Religious Coercion Turns Violent: Muslim Man Brutally Attacked in India

A 21-year-old Indian Muslim man suffered severe injuries and trauma after experiencing violent religious coercion in the district of Bhilwara in the northern state of Rajasthan on July 8th. This incident reflects the ongoing religious violence between the country’s Hindu and Muslim communities.

Saheb Ali Khan received 15 stitches in his head, has a severely wounded foot, and is experiencing impaired right-hand function after sustaining injuries from the violence. He was admitted and is currently receiving treatment at MG Hospital in Bhilwara. Khan was subjected to verbal abuse and beatings and was forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram,” which translates to Hail Lord Ram in Hindi. The slogan has become a war cry among Hindu nationalists as Hindutva continues to rise in India.

The assault started when Khan, a resident of Maruti Nagar, was on his way to buy groceries on the morning of July 8th. A man named Mukesh Gujjar then intercepted him and coerced Khan to chant the Hindu slogan.

I was going about my business, heading to buy milk from a nearby shop, when Mukesh Gujjar and four of his accomplices suddenly stopped me. They abused and forced me to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram. ‘” Khan told Maktoob Media, one of the media outlets that covered the incident.

Khan initially complied with Gujjar’s demand because he was fearful for his life and then quickly fled the scene. When he returned to a nearby tea shop, he encountered Mukesh Gujjar, this time accompanied by his brother, Shiva Gujjar. Khan attempted to confront Gujjar about forcing him to chant the Hindu religious slogan.

I asked him if it was right to compel someone to recite any slogan, and he referred to me as ‘Katwa’ (a derogatory term used against Muslims). He threatened me and called his friends,” Khan recounted.

I told him that he couldn’t force me to chant the slogan, which enraged him. Within moments, his companions arrived armed with swords, bats, and iron rods, mercilessly assaulting me, targeting my head and body.” he further narrated.

Khan lost consciousness during the attack, and the assailants left him after believing he was dead.

My nephew took me to the local hospital. If I hadn’t managed to escape, the assault would have cost me my life,” Khan added.

He filed a case against Mukesh, Shiva Gujjar, and five others at the Subhashnagar Police Station for violating sections of the Indian Penal Code. Shiva and another man, Lokesh, have been arrested so far.

Both assailants involved in the attack on the Muslim man have a history of criminal offenses,” Kashif Zuberi, a lawyer based in Rajasthan’s capital, Jaipur, said, adding that they have already urged the state government to take steps to protect Muslims and other religious minorities in Rajasthan.

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