On the 15th of June, the Ghaziabad Police revealed a detailed report behind the recent assualt on an elderly Muslim man.
Recently, on several social media platforms and news websites, a video of an elderly Muslim man of Loni went viral. In the video, a group of goons (said to be Hindus) were assaulting the man and forcefully cut off his beard. The incident, which occurred on the 5th of June, gained a lot of comments and criticism indicating a communal angle (Hindu-Muslim.) The elderly man visible in the video has been identified as Abdul Saifi Samad. He was allegedly abducted from an autorickshaw and was dragged to a hut in a nearby forested area, where the group reportedly shouted ‘Jai Shri Ram‘ and ‘Vande Mataram’ as they punched and beat him with wooden sticks.
In addition, Abdul Samad gave a statement and said, “I was on my way when I was suddenly nabbed. Two men got inside the auto rickshaw held me forcefully. Then they took me to a room and locked me up and thrashed me. They forced me to chant slogans… they took my mobile away… they got a knife and cut my beard.”
However, days after the incident, the Ghaziabad Police denied the communal angle in the case and said it to be an internal dispute. The Police also said, in the lodged complaint on the 7th of June, the victim did not mention about being forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ or his chopped beard.
Amit Pathak, the Senior Superintendent of Police (SP) of Ghaziabad, said, “How come he is making new allegations now on June 14.” In addition, the Ghaziabad Police arrested three persons, including a Muslim. The arrested youth have been identified as Kalloo and Adil. Apart from them, Polly, Arif, Mushahid and Parvesh Gurjar were also involved in the incident.
Getting into the details of the incident, the police said, Abdul Saifi Samad also practised occultism and had sold some amulet to Gurjar, purportedly to free one of his family members from some “evil effect” but a dispute arose between the two as there was no desired result of the amulet.
While the police denied the communal angle in Samad Saifi’s assault, the brother of one of the arrested accused denied the allegations about his brother. He said his brother was being trapped in the case as he had only gone to the spot to help Saifi escape the attackers.
Meanwhile, a first information report (FIR) has been filed against Twitter and several journalists who reported the communal angle in the case.
Some of the renowned news websites and journalists who have been charged are The Wire and journalists like Mohammad Zubair and Rana Ayyub, a few Indian National Congress (INC) leaders like Salman Nizami, Masqoor Usmani, Dr. Sama Mohammad and writer Saba Naqvi for sharing the viral video on their social media accounts.
The FIR says, “These people did not verify the truth of the matter and shared it online with a communal angle with an intention to disrupt public peace and create a divide between religious groups.” It further read, “Besides this, Twitter Inc and Twitter Communications India also did not take any measures to remove their tweets.”
The FIR has been lodged under the Indian Penal Code sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause a riot), 153A (promoting enmity between groups on ground of religion, class,) 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious belief,) 120B (criminal conspiracy) among others.
The case is still under investigation and more details are awaited.