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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

Accused include both Muslims and Hindus who tried to fleece shopkeeper earlier too, say police

Suresh Kumar, BJP MLA, interacting with the owner of the mobile shop at Nagarathpete. (Source: Special arrangement)

The alleged assault on a shopkeeper, Mukesh, in Nagarathpete by six men over the shopkeeper playing devotional songs on a loudspeaker has taken on a communal colour.

Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya visited the area on March 18 and alleged that a gang of Muslims had assaulted the shopkeeper for playing ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ during the azaan (call for prayer) from a nearby masjid.

However, in his complaint to Halasuru Gate Police on March 17, Mukesh did not mention that the row was over him playing bhajans during azaan. But, on March 18, he told mediapersons that the incident was over him playing bhajans. He participated in the BJP protest on March 19, and was detained by the police.

City Police Commissioner B. Dayananda said of the six accused in the case, five have been arrested and another accused is still at large. Efforts are being made to nab him as well, he said. “The incident took place over devotional songs being played on a speaker at the shop, which is near a religious place,” he said.

The accused include both Muslims and Hindus, police sources informed. The five arrested have been identified as Suleiman, Shahnawaz, Rohith, Danish and Tarun, all in their twenties.

Sources in the police said Mukhesh recently opened his mobile sales and services shop in the area and the gang who assaulted him on Sunday evening had tried to fleece him of money twice earlier and failed.

Speaking to mediapersons on Monday evening, Mukhesh said the gang had earlier come to his shop twice asking for a charger and other materials for free and he had refused. “The same gang had also assaulted a tea shop owner in the area earlier. But the police had not registered a case against them,” he said.

A senior official said that the gang may have used Mukhesh playing devotional songs on a speaker as just an excuse to start a fight.

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