Jibran Nazir, a 24-year-old copy editor with The Times of India in Pune, was attacked on Thursday night by two miscreants and others because of his Kashmiri identity.
Nazir’s wrist was fractured during the course of the attack, which took place at around 10:45 pm on Tilak Road while he was on his way home from the office.
The two attackers have been identified as Dattatray Lahote (35) and Azharuddin Shaik (32). Both are residents of Katraj area in Pune.
Speaking with Newslaundry, a source close to Nazir said: “He was going back home on his motorcycle and came to a halt at a red signal on Tilak Road. People don’t usually follow signals at night, so the two guys behind him on a motorcycle started honking. Nazir asked them to wait for two minutes as the signal was red and didn’t move his motorcycle. His bike has the registration number of Himachal Pradesh so these guys started shouting aye Himachal, aye Himachal aagey badh (hey Himachal, hey Himachal move ahead). When they continued shouting, Nazir got irritated and told them ‘I am not from Himachal, I am from Kashmir.’ This was the only mistake he made.”
When Nazir moved ahead from the signal after it turned green, he was intercepted by the same two guys on a motorcycle. “As soon as they came to know that he is a Kashmiri, they intercepted him, because of which he lost control over his bike and fell. While he was down on the ground, both of them started moving towards him. He thought they were coming to help him get up but they were actually coming to beat him. Some bystander who was standing there also joined them and within the blink of an eye, around five to six people started landing punches on him and hitting him,” he said.
“While hitting him they were repeatedly asking him to go back to Kashmir. They kept calling him a terrorist. When he made it known that he was a journalist, one of them snatched away his press card and told him to go back to his home in Kashmir and do journalism over there,” he added.
The miscreants also damaged Nazir’s motorcycle. After the attack, Nazir went to Swargate police station in the night with a colleague and filed a complaint against the attackers. He remembered the vehicle number of the two miscreants (MH12 LX 3745) who initiated the assault on him. Based on this, the two miscreants were brought by the authorities to Swargate police station.
Nazir’s friend told us: “He went to the police station and gave his statement and then went to Sassoon General hospital to do the medico-legal formalities, and when he returned to the police station, he saw that those two people who had attacked him had been arrested by the police. Their (the attackers’) parents had also come with them to the police station. The accused and their parents apologised to Nazir and requested him to take back his complaint. They also told him that they would get his bike fixed.”
“He forgave them and withdrew the complaint because of the sincere apology made by the accused and their family. He didn’t want that there should be any kind of disharmony among people,” he said.
After Nazir wrote an application withdrawing his complaint, the police released the two miscreants.
However, despite knowing and being told orally as well as in written by Nazir that he was attacked because of his Kashmiri identity, the police, after he withdrew the complaint, was trying to portray the incident as a road brawl.
Ashok Kadam, Police Inspector, Swargate Police station, told this journalist in the afternoon today: “This was an incident of road rage and not of a dispute of Kashmiri origin. The assaulters are ready to fix the bike of complaint so there is no problem now.” But by the evening, the police took suo moto cognisance of the attack and registered a case against the two accused under Section 279, 323, 504, 341 and 427 of the IPC. The journalist had also tweeted on the incident.