Gonda, Uttar Pradesh:
A video has emerged from a village in Uttar Pradesh showing the locals abusing and harassing three Muslim fakirs (religious men) who were begging for alms. Coming amid the huge international backlash over the Prophet remarks by suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma, the video has been widely circulated.
One of the perpetrators has been arrested, the police have said.
The cellphone video, shot in the Degur village of Gonda area, shows the three mendicants being chased by boys, who shout out abuses linked to religion. Some call out “beat them”.
“They wear the clothes of sadhus but they will eat biriyani with this money,” another is heard saying.
Then a young man, armed with a large stick, accost the men and demand their identification cards. Hearing that they weren’t carrying any, he calls them “jihadis” and “terrorists”.
“Just show us your Aadhaar, or we will thrash the stuffing out of you,” he is heard saying. He asks them their names and where they come from and repeatedly questions why they weren’t carrying Aadhaar. “All of you are terrorists… Carry your Aadhaar at all times,” he is heard saying.
A man who tries to intervene and calm him down is pushed away.
The video comes amid the huge international backlash over the now suspended BJP national spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s derogatory comments on the Prophet during a television debate.
While around 15 Islamic nations, many of them from the Gulf, condemned the remarks, the BJP is facing opposition fire at home.
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said the BJP took action against Nupur Sharma only when “something happened in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain”.
With the government describing the comments as coming from “fringe elements”, Congress’s Rahul Gandhi tweeted images of news reports on comments by key BJP leaders on Bangladeshi migrants and women. “Fringe is BJP’s core,” his caption read.