An elderly Muslim man was allegedly attacked by a group of men who forced him to shave his beard and shout Hindu religious slogans in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
A video of the incident from the Ghaziabad district of the state, which borders the national capital Delhi, has now gone viral.
The elderly man, identified as Abdul Samad Saifi, says in another video that he was in an auto rickshaw when two men jumped in and started beating him up after covering his face with a piece of cloth.
Mr Saifi says they took him to a forest, locked him up in a room and started thrashing him. He says the men forced him to shout Hindu nationalist slogan “Jai Shri Ram” (glory to Lord Ram, a Hindu deity).
Local media reports said the men were themselves chanting “Jai Shri Ram” when they took Mr Saifi to the forest and told him to repeat the slogan. The incident reportedly happened on 5 June.
The elderly man says there were at least five men and that they at one stage put a gun to his head, threatening to kill him. The men told him that they had killed many Muslims before, he says.
Mr Saifi says he was punched, and beaten up with wooden sticks.
In the video of the incident that has been circulated widely, at least two men can be seen slapping Mr Saifi, attacking him with wooden sticks and then taking scissors to his beard and crudely cutting it off as he tries and fails to resist.
The Independent could not confirm the authenticity of the videos.
Ghaziabad Police said a case has been registered in the incident. In a tweet, it said the main accused has been arrested and the police continues to look for the other men involved.
In a later update, police said they believed the incident was not motivated by religion but rather triggered by a transaction between the men. They also denied the victim’s claims that he was made to chant Hindu slogans.
In 2019, a Muslim teenager was allegedly set on fire by a gang after refusing to chant a Hindu slogan in Uttar Pradesh. However, the police denied that he was forced to shout the religious slogan, saying the boy gave different statements to different people.