Even as Siddaramaiah says ‘no moral policing’, Muslim youth harass interfaith friends

The Chikkaballapur Town police registered a case and arrested two of the accused soon after the girl filed a complaint on 25 May.

ByBellie Thomas

Published May 26, 2023 | 4:16 PM Updated May 26, 2023 | 5:43 PM

Screen grabs of the mobile phone recorded videos of the moral policing incident in Chikkaballapura

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had asserted in his maiden meeting with senior police officials of the state that his government would end moral policing.

“No moral policing. We will put an end to this,” he told the police officials on the evening of Wednesday, 24 May, at the meeting hall in Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru.

Ironically, the same evening — in fact, the same time around — a 20-year-old Muslim girl who happened to go with her Hindu classmate to an eatery in the Chikkaballapur district for some evening snacks had to undergo a harrowing experience at the hands of a vigilante mob of three men.

They allegedly heckled and moral-policed the duo. Two of the accused were butchers from a local mutton shop, the police said.

However, in a swift action, the Chikkaballapur Town police registered a case immediately after the girl approached them the next day and filed a complaint against three men belonging to her own community.

The police arrested two of the accused — identified as Wahid Fayaz and Saddam Riyaz. Both of them are residents of Vapasandra in Chikkaballapur town.

The cops are on the lookout for the third accused, Imran, who is said to have gone absconding.

The accused have been booked under IPC Sections: 354-A (sexual harassment), 354-D (stalking), 323 (assault), 341 (wrongful restraint), 153(1)(3) (promoting enmity between two groups) and 504 (intentional insult provoking breach of peace).

Also read: Bommai encouraging moral policing, says Siddaramaiah

Girl registers complaint

The girl, in her complaint to the police, stated that she was pursuing BCom from a government college in Chikkaballapur and since it was vacation, she was working temporarily at a mall in Yelahanka in Bengaluru to earn some money to support her family.

On Wednesday, clad in a Burqa, she had gone for work but was not keeping well, and she had not had lunch, she said.

Hence, she returned to Chikkaballapur by bus by around 5.30 pm and got down near the Junior College in Chikkaballapur, where she coincidentally met her classmate — a 22-year-old boy from the Hindu community.

As she was hungry, they decided to head to Gopika Chats on OMB Road in Chikkaballapur and have some snacks.

Gopika Chat Shop is a famous chat corner on OMB Main Road in Chikkaballapur, a senior police officer told South First.

While they were eating, three people not known to them came into the shop and sat at a table next to them, she said.

The trio then started staring at them, before one of them came and sat at their table and began asking why they were there, said the girl in her complaint.

The duo ignored them, finished their snack, paid the bill, and came out of the eatery, but the trio started following them, she said.

The three men then confronted them and asked what a burqa-clad girl was doing with a Hindu boy. Heated arguments ensued, and one of the three men caught the boy by the neck and slapped him while verbally abusing both of them, said the girl in her complaint.

When the girl tried to rescue her classmate, the three pulled her burqa and shawl and also attacked her, abusing her in filthy language for intervening, she added.

However, the girl stood by her classmate, fought, and argued, telling the trio they could do whatever they wanted, but she was not going to let them go scot-free.

One of the three was even video-recording the entire incident on his mobile phone, she said.

When a crowd started to gather, a few passers-by intervened and separated the two parties.

Also read: Bajrang Dal members assault 4 for roaming at night

Police action

After informing her family, the girl approached the Chikkaballapur Town Police Station the next day and filed a complaint, based on which the police registered an FIR and immediately arrested two of the main accused.

A senior officer attached to the Chikkaballapur Town Police Station told South First that the victims and the accused were not known to each other.

“There are many videos of the incident that we managed to procure, and we will be adding more sections under the IPC if relevant evidence is found in the video clips,” the officer said.

Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Alok Kumar tweeted: “Case has been registered and arrests made. Investigation is on. [sic]”

Chikkaballapur Superintendent of Police (SP) Nagesh DL told South First: “Though the incident happened on 24 May, we came to know of it the next day, when the girl had approached the police station and filed a complaint. Soon a case was registered, and two accused — A1 and A2 — were arrested. The two have been produced before a magistrate, who remanded them to judicial custody.”