NEW DELHI : Unidentified individuals allegedly had set a 15-year-old Muslim boy on fire in Chandauli district of Uttar Pradesh for refusing to chant Jai Shri Ram, IANS reported. The boy is undergoing treatment at the Kabir Chaura hospital in Varanasi.

“I was walking on Dudhari bridge when four men kidnapped me,” the boy said initially. “Two of them tied my hand and third one started pouring kerosene. After which they set me on fire and ran away.” He later said that he was being forced to chant Jai Shri Ram.

However, the police denied that the boy was forced to chant the religious slogan. Chandauli Superintendent of Police Santosh Kumar Singh said the boy gave different statements to different people. “He’s admitted in a hospital with 45 per cent burns,” Singh told ANI. “He had given different statements to different people, so it seemed suspicious. It seemed he had been tutored. Police monitored CCTV footage of places he had mentioned and found that he had not been at any of those places.”

The police officer also claimed that witnesses saw the boy set himself on fire.

There have been a series of lynching incidents across the country, where victims were attacked for allegedly not chanting Jai Shri Ram. In the most recent incident, two Muslim men in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad city were allegedly threatened and forced to chant Jai Shri Ram by unidentified people on July 21.