Baghpat (Uttar Pradesh): Police have booked nearly 12 youths for allegedly pulling the beard of a Muslim cleric and forcing him to chant 'Jai Shri Ram'.

Baghpat (Uttar Pradesh) Superintendent of Police (SP) Shailesh Kumar Pandey said on Sunday (July 14), "Prime facie it seems to be a matter of physical assault. Even then, the police have registered a case against 12 youngsters on the basis of the cleric's complaint. Action will be taken against them on the basis of probe."

Citing the cleric's complaint, the SP said that Imam Imlaq-ur-Rehman, a Muzaffarnagar resident, was going to his village on his motorcycle, when as many as 12 youngsters accosted him, beat him up and also pulled his beard. The Imam claimed he was also forced to chant 'Jai Shri Ram', the SP said.

The cleric said he was rescued by two people of his village when he raised an alarm, added SP Pandey.

The complainant also said the youths told him to come to the village, only after shaving off his beard. The SP said the cause of beating up is yet to be known.

SP Pandey said the Imam had registered a similar case in Muzaffarnagar district, which was later found to be true.

A similar case took place in Delhi in June where a 40-year-old cleric alleged that he was hit by a car northwest Delhi’s Rohini after he refused to heed to the demand of its three occupants to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’.

In his complaint to police, Maulana Momin (40), who teaches at a local madrasa in Rohini’s Sector 20, said the three occupants questioned him about his well-being.

Momin replied stating, “By the grace of Allah, I am well.” The trio objected to this and forced him to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’. Following his refusal, Momin alleged that the car hit him and left him unconscious.