The victim, Rajat, alleged that the incident took place on Monday in Shimlana village. The accused include six upper-caste men who assaulted the complainant and the barber who shaved his mustache.
According to the First Information Report in the case, the accused intimidated Rajat with sharp weapons and forced him to go to the barber’s shop. The accused allegedly told him that a mustache was a symbol of pride for Thakurs (one of the upper castes according to the Hindu community) and only they could keep one.
“As part of surveillance, we are tracking their cellphones and will soon have leads. We have apprehended the barber in whose shop the incident took place.”
— Rajneesh Kumar, Circle Officer, Deoband Police
Rajat identified the six upper-caste men as Neeraj Rana, Satyam Rana, Mokam Rana, Rupantu Rana, Monty Rana, and Sandeep Rana. The barber has been identified as Rajendra.
The barber told the police that he was unaware of the intentions of the other accused and did what he was asked to do. Police have also got an audio clip, allegedly from a few weeks ago, where the accused persons and Rajat can be heard arguing and exchanging casteist slurs.
“A video of the incident went viral on social media after which a complaint was made at the local police station in which the complainant said some men of his Shimlana village misbehaved with him and assaulted him. The FIR has been lodged under relevant provisions of the law. Police teams have been formed to trace the men involved in the episode and they would be arrested soon.”
— Atul Sharma, Superintendent of Police (Rural)
The FIR has been filed under sections 147 (rioting), 323 (punishment for causing hurt), and 504 (intentional insult) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Crimes like forcing Dalits to harass or assaulting them for riding a horse are common acts of showing off caste supremacy.