Two children aged eight and nine were allegedly stripped, tonsured and paraded wearing a string of slippers, after being accused of stealing a food item from a shop in a community near Mumbai on Sunday.
The shopkeeper recorded the episode in Ulhasnagar on a mobile phone.
Mehmood Pathan, 69, the shop owner, and his two sons, Irfan, 25, and Tavakkal, 20, were arrested and remanded in police custody until May 23, after a complaint was filed by the mother of one of the boys.
According to the Times of India, the incident took place when the boys were playing near their home in the Prem Nagar area of Ulhasnagar. They walked up to the neighborhood sweet shop owned by Mehmood and allegedly took a packet of chaklis, a pretzel-like snack made of rice flour, and ate it.
“As the children’s mother was away, to quench their hunger, they took two chaklis, which were barely worth Rs2, from a jar in the shop and ate them. When Mehmood came to know about it, he was furious and slapped them. He also called his sons to teach the children a lesson,” an officer from Hill Line police station was quoted as saying.
The Hindustan Times reported that the trio then took the children to a nearby barber’s shop and had their heads shaved, stripped them naked and assaulted them. They made the children wear a string of shoes and paraded them in Ulhasnagar camp no.5.
A huge crowd gathered but no one intervened, media reports said.
The three have been booked under Indian Penal Code sections 355 for assault, 500 for defamation and 323 for injury, and also under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.