Balasore: A man was stripped, assaulted, abused and tonsured at the foot of a statue of the `apostle of peace’ and Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, here, Monday.
His fault: He had offered to pay a bill of Rs 130 in small change and lower denomination notes for an LED bulb which the shopkeeper refused to accept and which eventually led to an altercation between the two.
The matter came to light after a video clip featuring a half-naked Janardhan Sahoo being tonsured at the foot of the statue went viral on social media, Tuesday.
Janardhan, son of Sudarshan Sahoo, is a resident of Gobindapur village under Industrial Area police limits here.
As per the complaint lodged at Industrial Area police station by the victim’s wife Manjulata Sahoo, Janardhan had purchased an LED bulb from a shop in Somnathpur market for Rs 130 and for which he offered lower denomination currency notes like Rs 10 besides coins.
However, the shopkeeper, identified as Zabir Khan, refused to accept these.
When Janardhan argued asking whether the government had banned the smaller denomination notes, Zabir Khan turned furious and started beating him up while showering abusive language on him.
After Janardhan shouted for help, neighbouring shopkeepers tried to stop Zabir Khan from beating him.
But the shopkeeper alleged that Sahoo was caught while stealing from his shop. Believing him without first trying to ascertain the fact, the other shopkeepers, who had come to rescue Janardhan, also joined in and started thrashing him.
According to the complaint, Janardhan was then dragged from the shop to Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in the middle of the market square. The shopkeepers then stripped him of his clothes, physically assaulted and tonsured him to teach him a lesson for the alleged theft.
Ironically, bystanders, instead of coming forward to help, were busy filming the macabre act on their mobile phones before sharing it on social media.
“My husband told us about the incident after returning home. I insisted that he should approach the police, but he was feeling so humiliated that he even attempted to run away from the house,” Manjulata said in the complaint.
“He repeatedly kept saying he wanted to end his life after the extreme insult,” she said.
Police registered a case based on the complaint and detained a youth, who had posted the video on social media, for interrogation. Raids were carried out to nab the accused persons in the incident, police said.