Representational image. Photo: Flickr Commons

The recent string of hate crimes targeting minority groups in India made a Muslim man so nervous about traveling that he donned a burqa for a train trip in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, thinking that extremists would be unlikely to attack a woman.

However, his plan quickly unraveled when fellow passengers grew suspicious and alerted the Government Railway Police (GRP), who detained him at Aligarh railway station for wearing the female garment, according to media reports.

Nazmul Hassan, 42, an assistant engineer at Aligarh’s Kasimpur power station, told police that he concealed his identity because he was afraid of being lynched for being a Muslim, the Times of India reported.

Hassan frequently visits Delhi to take care of his ailing cousin. While traveling there last week, he accidentally pushed a man, who insulted him and his faith. He was then surrounded by a group of men who issued threats and said they would not let him live in the city.

Referring to the recent murder of a 15-year-old Muslim on a Delhi-Mathura train, Hassan said: “I had read about Junaid’s killing in a train in Ballabhgarh a few days ago.”

He added: I was scared for my life after the threat, but couldn’t avoid traveling. So I thought of wearing a burqa. I presumed that no one would target a woman and I would be safe.”

After questioning, Hassan was released without charge. A police official was quoted as saying: “When Hassan was handed over to the GRP, he was crying and shaking and kept repeating that he is a simple man who has never done anything wrong.”

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