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May 21, 2019
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‘Om’ symbol engraved on Muslim man’s back in India’s Tihar jail

An under trail  Muslim man languishing in an Indian jail was branded with an ‘Om’ symbol.

According to Indian media reports, a Muslim man was branded with an ‘Om’ symbol by prison officials.

According to India Today, the case came to light after the man’s family approached a Karkardooma court with the complaint that their son’s life was in danger in the Tihar jail.

When 34-year-old Shabbir was brought before magistrate Richa Parihar, she found that the ‘Om’ symbol had been engraved on his back. The man has been in Tihar since November 2017, India Today said.

It was reported that on April 12, Shabbir had raised a complaint with a superintendent of jail no 4, Rajesh Chauhan, to tell him that the induction stove in his barracks was not working properly.

In response to the complaint, the jail official allegedly started beating Shabbir. Chauhan later summoned Shabbir into his office, where he and some other jail officials beat the victim again, India Today said.

According to India Today, Chauhan then took a Om symbol cast in metal, heated it, and branded Shabbir’s back with it.

Shabbir was then denied food for two days, and on April 14, Chauhan allegedly told Shabbir that he had “converted to Hinduism as he had ‘fasted’ during Navratri”. The jail officials also berated him for his religion saying, “you Muslims have destroyed our country”, India Today said.

According to India Today, when advocate Jagmohan met his client in jail on April 16, the burn injuries had healed slightly.

The case was heard by the court on April 17, when Shabbir was already scheduled to be brought to court. In the courtroom, the judge asked him to narrate his story, and then saw the branded symbol herself.

The judge ordered for Shabbir to be medically examined and immediately removed from “the direct or indirect supervision of jail superintendent Rajesh Chauhan”.

The court also ordered an inquiry and ordered the relevant prison official to submit CCTV footage and take statements of other prisoners within 24 hours.

On April 18, no official from the Tihar authority appeared before the court; neither were the medical examination and inquiry reports presented

The judge has now repeated her orders and will hear the matter on Monday (April 22).