news Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 05:30
Anisha Sheth | The News Minute | February 23, 2015 | 5.38 pm IST Follow @anisha_w A photograph taken in a moment of harmless playfulness at a college in Mangaluru has had nasty consequences some of those in the image, after it circulated on social media for two days and resulted in the assault of one person in it. Mohammed Riyaz (20) and seven of his friends – five of them girls – had been taking photographs of themselves for quite some time in their classroom on Friday, when someone, he doesn’t remember who, came up with the idea of taking a photograph with another friend, Mohammed Swali, lying on the girls’ laps. “All of us have been very close since the first year. If we were not close, would they (girls) permit? See the photo. They are all smiling. If it was forced, then would the girls be smiling?” Riyaz says from his bedside at a private hospital in the city.  They are all students of a college in Suratkal, around 20 km from Mangaluru, and are in the final year of their course. Today, Riyaz is simply bewildered as to why this happened to him.  Read: A playful photo moment takes communal turn in Mangaluru, one boy assaulted He has injuries on legs, his head, his chest, his back and his arms, after he was beaten by a group of people who “kidnapped” him and took him for a ride, beating him up in a place that was several kilometres away and then bringing him back to his locality. “The photo was taken from one of the girls’ phones. I don’t know how it got leaked. The other two boys – Sonesh and Pradeep – called me up on Sunday and said we needed to talk about the photo. Sonesh called me to his house, but I asked him to come to my house. We were outside near the gate, when a Martui 800 came and they asked me something. Then suddenly, they just hold of me and dragged me into the car,” Riyaz says. He hasn't seen them since. Read: Weeks after he came out of a coma, Shameer hasn't recovered from the assault by the Bajrang Dal After that, the ordeal lasted for a couple of hours at least. They took him to an isolated spot, and beat him with wooden sticks, kicked him and even hit him on the head.  Mohammed Riyaz, who was assaulted on Sunday “They told me to tell them where Swali was. I dint know, so I called a friend of mine, and he said that Swali’s number was switched off. They said I had to hand Swali over to them, or else they wouldn’t spare me,” Riyaz says. As they stripped and beat him, he says they abused him for being a Beary – the local Muslim community in coastal Karnataka, who speak a language of the same name – and wanted to know why he took a photograph with Hindu girls. Read: Mangaluru a communal cauldron? One communal incident occurs nearly every other day “I kept telling them that I had not posed, I dint take the photo, so why did they want me?” Riyaz says. He says that his attackers appeared to be in their twenties. He said that he did not recognize anybody except one person. Riyaz says that the boy whose face he recognized was not assaulting him, but was present and that he recalled him from school. He said that after they beat him up, they got him dressed again and then took him towards Kaikamba around 15 km from Suratkal, because they wanted to drink. He says that when he asked for a drink of water, they made him drink some alcohol. But later, someone gave him some water to drink. Afterwards, they left him in Mukka, around 5 km from Suratkal.  “I took a bus to NITK (nearby) and then found the police jeep, which was looking for me,” he says. His father Abdul Rahman had approached the police to try and find Riyaz. As they took him away in the car, he says that they threatened him at knifepoint and told him not to tell his family members, who were frantically trying to reach him, about his whereabouts. They told him to lie about his location. Riyaz says that he simply does not know why he was assaulted like this. He feels that Sonesh and Pradeep may have had something to do with it, but cannot be sure.  “We were very close, Sonesh and I. Close enough to eat from the same plate,” Riyaz says. Asked if he thought Sonesh belonged to any organization, Riyaz says: “He used to talk about going to the (name), but I don’t know what it is.” Their phone numbers were not reachable, neither were those of the girls, he says. (The names of Sonesh and Pradeep have been changed) Tweet  Follow @thenewsminute
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