India: A Mentally Challenged Muslim Man Lynched for Taking a Banana!
Story Code : 1084784
Inside, the four sisters of Mohammad Ishaq look sullen as they huddle together at their dimly lit house in New Delhi’s Sundar Nagri area on Wednesday.
“I have lost everything,” Ishaq’s father Abdul Wajid told Al Jazeera as his eyes welled up with tears and his voice broke.
At around 5am on Tuesday, a mob tied Ishaq to an iron pole with a leather belt and beat him up mercilessly on suspicion that he had stolen “prasad”, or a ritualistic offering, at a prayer event organised by the area’s Hindus to observe the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.
The event was held three lanes away from Ishaq’s house.
“My son was killed because he ate prasad,” Wajid, 60, said. “Those who killed my son found it offensive that a Muslim touched their prasad.”
Wajid, who sells vegetables in a pushcart, said his Hindu customers often offer him the prasad and he accepts it without a second thought.
Ishaq’s sister Uzma stated that her brother was lynched “for taking a banana” and the mob left him tied to the pole after the brutal assault.
“His nails were broken, some taken out and his fingers had cuts. He was brutally beaten because he was a Muslim,” she said. “He was unable to speak and his condition was critical.”
Uzma said Ishaq was found lying on the road by a boy from their neighborhood who picked him up and brought him home. He succumbed to his injuries a few hours later at his home.
Ishaq’s family said they did not take him to hospital. The police said they were informed about the incident after he had passed away.
As a video of the assault went viral on social media, people demanded action by the police, which registered a case of murder and arrested six people.
According to the neighbors, Ishaq was mentally challenged. “He was a simple boy who did not bring any harm to anyone,” autorickshaw driver Mohammad Saleem, who lives in the same lane said.
He said Ishaq would help everyone in the lane carry their load. “He was a good boy. He never said no. We would pay him 20 or 50 rupees for the job.”