Nine individuals from the minority community, including two minors, have been arrested in Karnataka's Belagavi for assaulting two interfaith cousins.
The event took place at around 3 pm on Saturday, when the victims were present at Kote Lake Park in Belagavi city.
“The victim girl is a graduate and she visited her college to collect some documents. She was told to wait till 3.30 pm. Meanwhile, her cousin joined her and both were waiting at the Lake Park. As the girl was covering her face with a hijab and the boy was sporting a tilak, the accused thought that they were lovers and attacked them," a police officer was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
The accused took the cousins to an isolated place and started assaulting them, he added.
The girl, while speaking to the media, said, “I repeatedly told them that boy is my cousin but none listened to me. They snatched our mobile phones. They took him to another room and assaulted him. They also hit me asking why I was roaming around with a Hindu boy being a Muslim girl.”
After three hours, the boy somehow managed to contact the police emergency hotline (112). Utilizing mobile tracking, the police were able to locate them.
According to the police, the girl's mother is of Hindu faith, while her father is a Muslim.
The mothers of both the girl and the boy are sisters.
The boy has suffered injuries and is currently receiving medical treatment. Around 15 individuals were involved in attacking the duo, the police said.
Till now, nine people, including two juveniles, have been arrested on charges of kidnapping and assaulting the duo. The adult accused have been identified as Mohammad Ayman, 27, Hussain, 22, Ateef, 22, Saif Ali, 27, Umar, 18, Rehan, 19, and Azan, 18.
The accused have been charged under Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 149 (unlawful assembly), 394 (robbery), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), and 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the Indian Penal Code.
Further, the police is also trying to nab others involved in the assault.
Former BJP minister K S Eshwarappa on Sunday visited the victims and criticised the government over the incident.
“Looking at the present scenario, I doubt whether there is a government or not. The Congress here has decided to create a fight between Hindus and Muslims before the Lok Sabha elections. I urge the government to hand over the case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA),” he said.
Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.
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