Despite repeated assurances from the Kerala Chief Minister and the state police chief of strictest action, there seems to be no end to moral policing in the state.
In the latest such incident, a 19-year-old youth from the northern district of Kannur was abducted and beaten up after being seen with a woman classmate.
Laljith, a first-year student of History at Sir Syed College in Talipapramba, was allegedly abducted by five men, taken to a secluded spot and assaulted on Wednesday evening. The police have arrested four accused in the case.
Taliparamba sub-inspector Binu Mohan told The News Minute that the men accosted Laljith when he was on his way back home from college.
"He used to generally walk home with his woman classmate, who is a Muslim. Laljith belongs to Scheduled Tribes community. These self-proclaimed saviours have been watching them for quite some time. On Wednesday, they accosted Laljith and questioned him as to why he was spending time with a Muslim girl," the Inspector said.
After threatening Laljith, the five men left, only to return with a car a few minutes later. Laljith was forcefully pulled into the car, the Inspector said. The men then took the student to a secluded spot, where they attacked him using a wooden log.
"While beating him up, the accused asked Laljith whether he was attempting to elope with his woman friend," the Inspector said.
The accused also reportedly took away Laljith's wallet and mobile phone and gave him Rs 50 to get home.
Once he reached home, Laljith was taken to a hospital. Inspector Binu said that Laljith's injuries were not critical. The police were able to nab four out of the five accused in the case within hours of the incident coming to light.
"While the accused were assaulting Laljith, they made phone calls to some other people and enquired what Laljith's relationship with his woman classmate was. Laljith was witness to this conversation and it helped us identify the accused," the Inspector said.
Four men – Majeed, Fahad, Muhammad Saha and Sanjid have been arrested, and a case has been filed against them under Sections 365 (Abduction), 395 (dacoity), 143 (unlawful assembly) and 147 (rioting), as well as under sections of the SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act. The men will be produced in court on Thursday.