Tamil Nadu police arrest 7 for threatening woman to remove hijab in Vellore

The action came after a video of a group of men threatening an unmarried couple on the Vellore Fort Complex went viral on social media.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published Mar 30, 2023 | 9:03 PMUpdatedMar 30, 2023 | 9:05 PM

A group of men approached the woman and her friend, asked her religion, and then told her to remove the hijab she was wearing. (Creative Commons)

Seven people, including a 17-year-old, have been arrested by the police in Vellore on Thursday for forcing a Muslim woman to remove her hijab (headscarf) while she was with her friend.

The police also registered a case in this regard after a video, where a group of men threatened an unmarried couple who visited the 16th-century Vellore Fort Complex, began circulating in social media.

According to cops, the woman visited the fort complex with her friend on Monday, 27 March, for sightseeing.

They were sitting in a place and talking when a group of men approached them and asked the religion of the girl, said the cops, adding that they then asked her to remove the hijab she was wearing.

Objecting to this, the duo confronted them and refused to remove the hijab. The men allegedly threatened the duo, warning them not to visit the fort together.

The whole episode was shot on a phone camera by one of the men and later uploaded on social media.

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The police step in

As the video went viral, the fort police registered a case based on a complaint launched by the Village Administrative Officer (VAO) for North Vellore town on Wednesday.

Special teams were formed. Following an investigation, the police found that an auto-driver stationed near the fort had indulged in the crime.

The police subsequently arrested Ibrahim Basha (24), S Imran Pasha (23), Mohammed Faizal (22), Ashraf Basha (20), Santhosh (22), and Prasanth (20).

They and the aforementioned minor were booked on charges of endangering public safety, a threat to personal freedom, intention to create enmity between two sections of people, and acting against the modesty of women.

During the inquiry, the police found that the group had threatened several others who visited the fort.

The mobile phones of the arrested persons were seized and sent to the cybercrime wing for analysis.

The six adults were presented in court, and were subsequently remanded in judicial custody.

The police also arrested the 17-year-old boy in connection with the case and he was sent to a juvenile government home.

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Police warn of more action

Vellore Superintendent of Police S Rajesh Kannan told reporters on Thursday that action would be initiated against those who shared or spread the video footage.

He also said that circulating the video clip would attract charges of cyberbullying, provisions under the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, and the Information Technology Act.

Following the incident, the police have increased surveillance inside the fort complex, the SP said.

Tourists would be given adequate protection, he added.

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