North East Student Thrashed by Landlord and forced to Lick Shoe

Bengaluru: The brutal attack on a student from Arunachal Pradesh, allegedly by his landlord, has kicked up a storm in the city’s northeast (N-E) community.

The landlord, Hemanth Kumar, allegedly attacked Higio Gungtey, a student of Christ University, and even made him lick his shoe. The incident followed a dispute over water. Even though several charges were filed against the landlord, sources said he managed to get anticipatory bail.

While members of the N-E community say Kumar should have been booked under sections of racial attack, there are still no specific laws for such attacks. The Centre is still working on adding two sections — 153C and 509A — which deal with punishments specifically for racial attacks. These sections were proposed after the Centre set up the Bezbaruah Committee after Nido Tania, a student from Arunachal Pradesh, was killed in an alleged racial attack in Delhi in January 2014. However, they are still in the pipeline.

However, according to senior officers, cases can be booked under Section 295(A) and Section 153(A), which prescribe punishment for promoting enmity between communities and insulting other’s religious feelings, respectively. These can be stretched to address racial attacks, they said.

Higio lived in a two-bedroom house owned by Kumar, a lawyer, in Hulimavu. On March 6, another tenant living in Kumar’s apartment complained that they were facing water scarcity because Higio and his roommates were overusing it. Following this, Kumar allegedly first abused Higio over phone and later turned up at his house and attacked him.

Higio said Kumar kicked him on his stomach and knees and beat him black and blue and that he was assaulted for half-an-hour. When the landlord’s shoe fell off, Higio was allegedly asked to put it back and lick it.

The victim’s statement details the attack, but makes no mention of a racial abuse or attack, said senior police officers.

But the victim said that the police did not take the full complaint and he is not satisfied by the actions the police have taken.

“They said that there is no need to add the racial abuse part in the complaint and that’s why I am going to file a complaint again,” Higio said.

Going by the victim’s statement, the the landlord has been booked on charges of wrongful restraint, assault, kidnapping and criminal intimidation, they said. However, members of the N-E community are demanding that Kumar be booked for racial attack.

“If at any point a complaint is registered or we find a racial angle to the incident, a separate case can be registered,” said a senior police officer.

Source: Times Now