Odisha man thrashed; stripped, tonsured for paying change to shopkeeper

Balasore: A man had to pay a big price after purchasing an LED bulb here in the coastal town, as he was physically assaulted, abused, stripped and tonsured for paying change to the shopkeeper for the product.

The matter came to light after a video featuring a half naked man being tonsured under the statue of Mahatma Gandhi went viral on social media yesterday.

The victim was identified as Janardhan Sahoo, son of Sudarshan Sahoo, a resident of Gobindapur village under Industrial ARea police limits in Balasore.

The incident occurred on Monday following heated argument between a shopkeeper and Janardhan over payment of change currency notes and coins for an LED bulb.

As per the complaint lodged with Industrial Area police station by the victim’s wife Manjulata Sahoo, Janardhan had purchased an LED bulb from a shop located at Somnathpur market for which he paid Rs 130 of lower denomination currency notes including few Rs 10 notes and coins. However, the shopkeeper identified as Zabir Khan refused to accept change currency notes and coins from the customer. When Janardhan argued asking whether the government has banned the change notes, Zabir khan turned furious and started beating up uttering abusive terms towards him.

After Janardhan shouted for help, other shopkeepers nearby the shop tried to stop Zabir Khan from thrashing him. But, the shopkeeper leveled false allegation against the customer citing the latter was caught while stealing from his shop. Believing the allegations without knowing the fact, other shopkeepers, who had come to rescue Janardhan, started thrashing and shunning him without mercy.

According to the police complaint, Janardhan was dragged from the shop to Mahatma Gandhi statue installed in middle of the market square. The shopkeepers stripped his clothes, physically assaulted him and tonsured him head under the statue to teach him a lesson for alleged theft.

Ironically, the locals instead of coming forward to stop the assault against the person were busy in shooting the video on their mobile phones and shared the clip on social media.

“My husband told about the incident to us after reaching home with tonsured head. When I insisted him to approach the police against the attackers and shopkeeper, he was feeling so insulted that he attempted to run away from the house,” the victim’s wife stated in the complaint.

“We watched him at home as he was repeatedly saying to end life out of extreme insult,” she wrote in the complaint.

A case has been registered based on the complaint filed by the victim’s wife.

Acting on the complaint, police detained a youth, who had made the video viral on social media, for interrogation. Raids were conducted to nab the accused persons in the incident, said the police.

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