MUMBAI: Barun Kashyap, a creative director with a production house, had made headlines a couple of months back when he claimed that he was abused and threatened by some gau-rakshaks (cow protectors) after they mistook his bag as made of cow leather.
He wrote about his experience in a Facebook post, which was made popular on social media by self-declared liberal activists and some Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders who vouched for the 24-year-old executive being the “gentlest, most soft spoken kid”.
His version of the story was reported by the mainstream media as gospel truth, and there were usual commentary about how there was “rising intolerance” in India and how “right wing” elements were making India a “Hindu Taliban”.
However, on social media, people challenged Barun’s narrative. In his Facebook post, he had mentioned that he noted down the auto number (vehicle registration number) as well as the mobile number of the auto driver. People also asked him if he took any pictures from his mobile. They asked him to make those public so that his claims could be cross verified.
But instead of providing those details, Barun deleted the Facebook post itself. Though by then, the media had made his story viral. Even the Chief Minister of Maharashtra was made aware of the case and he promised police action to punish the culprits i.e. the gau-rakshaks.
Earlier this month, on 2nd October, after police investigated the case, it turned out that the culprits were not some gau-rakshaks but Barun Kashyap himself, who allegedly made up this entire story to create some news and gain some popularity.
Police informed that the CCTV footage of the area and Barun’s mobile locations didn’t match the story claimed by the “creative” director. Even the vehicle registration number provided by Barun and the sketch of the auto-driver didn’t match any real auto or person after talking to about 180 auto drivers in that region. Police declared that they were treating Barun as suspect after their initial findings.
This made Barun see red and he took the help of AAP leaders. On the official Facebook page of AAP Mumbai, a fresh statement of Barun was published, where he accused the Mumbai police of pressurizing him.
A close look at Barun’s statement shared by AAP reveals that it contains information that was different from his original post – which he had deleted – perhaps to “explain” the preliminary findings of police investigations, which had made his claim dubious.
For example, in his new post, Barun claims that the auto number was not in readable state and was written in Marathi, a language he doesn’t know. Similarly he claims that the mobile number provided by the auto driver – which he didn’t share despite people asking for it – turned out to be fake.
He also claims that his mobile phone was in his bag switched off all the time while he was bullied by the gau-rakshaks. Perhaps this new information is supposed to explain why his mobile location didn’t match his original story, and why he didn’t take any pictures.
Apart from these, in his new post shared by AAP, Barun makes no mention of any temple where these gau-rakshaks, wearing red tilak, were supposed to be sitting and smoking – as claimed in his original Facebook post – before they were summoned by this auto-driver.
Despite AAP leaders like Priti Sharma Menon shielding him and providing him moral and legal support, police took Barun Kashyap in custody on 4th October for further investigations. And now it has come to light that Barun has accepted that he made up the story. And apparently he did so, because he hates Hindus.
“I lied because have hatred towards Hindus.” Barun is quoted as saying by Mumbai Mirror.
Barun Kashyap has been has been booked under section 153A (promoting enmity between groups) and 182B (for use of lawful power of a public servant to injure or annoy any person) of the Indian Penal Code and is currently lodged in Arthur Road jail. Due to AAP leaders figuring in this incident again and again, Police is also investigating if there was any political conspiracy behind the whole story.