Sanjay Kumar, an assistant professor from Mahatma Gandhi Central University in Bihar's Motihari district, was beaten up and almost set on fire for criticising former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee' rule in a Facebook comment. The comment stated how Vajpayee was not a 'Nehruvian socialist' but was a loyalist of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and propagated the right-wing organisation's agenda. He went on to say, ""Ek fasiwad yug ka samapti. Atalji anant yatra pe nikle [The end of a fascist era, Atal ji begins an unending journey]".
After posting this comment, he began to get abused online by what he believed to be members of the RSS and the Bajrang Dal. On Friday, Aug 17 morning, he started receiving calls threatening to kill him and messages of the same kind on WhatsApp.
In the afternoon, a group of men came to Kumar's residence, forcibly dragged him out of his house and attacked him. He was stripped off his clothes and was beaten with sticks and steel rods. At one point, petrol was poured over him and there were attempts by the attackers to immolate him. However, some people in the crowd managed to get him out and admitted him in the hospital in a critical condition from where he was referred to AIIMS, Patna. In the video of the assault, the attackers ask him if he wants to become the next 'Kanhaiya Kumar'.
Pramod Meena, the head of the university staff told Scroll, " He got a call at around 10.30 am and the caller said he would be killed". He went on to say, "At about 1 pm, 10 to 12 goons came to his home and beat him with shoes and steel rods, dragged him down the stairs and to the road. They even poured petrol over him."
Another reason that many believe could have been the reason for the attack was his vocal criticism of the vice-chancellor of the university and many faculty members and that the comment could have been the trigger
An Indian Express report states that one of the attackers happened to be Sanjay Kumar Singh, the local bureau chief of Dainik Bhaskar. Some of the other attackers named in the Indian Express report were Dr Pawnesh Kumar Singh, Diwakar Singh, Dinesh Vyas, Jitendra Giri and Rakesh Pande.