Home Media Gurugram 'hate crime': Police says Barkat Alam may have been tutored to give it a communal angle

Gurugram ‘hate crime’: Police says Barkat Alam may have been tutored to give it a communal angle

Swarajya's Swati Goel Sharma brings a ground report which shows many loose ends in the Gurugram incident

The case of a Muslim man in Gurugram being allegedly beaten up by some Hindu men in Sadar Bazar area had caught media attention on May 28 after newly elected BJP MP Gautam Gambhir had tweeted about it, insinuating it to be a hate crime and preaching about ‘secularism’.

While the usual suspects in the media jumped to the opportunity to keep the communal pot boiling, the police have almost denied the angle of hate crime in the incident. The day of the incident itself, the Gurugram police had stated that the incident was a case of a minor brawl in a drunken state. On 28 May, Gurugram Police Commissioner Mohammad Akil held a press conference in which he claimed that the victim might have been tutored.

Swarajya journalist Swati Goel Sharma delved into the entire incident and got in touch with Mohammad Barkat Alam’s cousin Murtaza over the phone. While he was initially even reluctant to talk on phone, on Sharma’s persistence, he eventually agreed to meet her in Gurugram on condition that no video is recorded. Murtaza, who is in his 40s, works in a tailoring shop in Gurugram’s Jacob Pura, around 30 kilometres from New Delhi.

- Ad - - article resumes -

According to the report, Murtaza and Barkat Alam hail from Begusarai in Bihar. While Murtaza was staying in Gurugram for the last few years Alam had come two weeks ago. Barkat, who lost his father at an early age, was earlier in Madhya Pradesh, where he worked as a mason.

On May 25, Barkat lodged an FIR (first information report) against unknown men at the city police station, saying that when he was returning from the Jama Masjid in nearby Sadar Bazaar around 10.15 pm, six unknown men cornered him. Four were on a motorcycle and two were on foot. They were drunk and told him that the skull cap was not allowed in the area. They hurled abuses at him, and the two men thrashed him and even threatened him with his life.

The police applied sections 153A (promoting enmity between groups on ground of religion), 147 (rioting) 149 (unlawful assembly), 323 (causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC or Indian Penal Code.

The incident was blown up the next day as Barkat gave statements to several television news channels claiming that he was forced to say ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’.

However, Gurugram Police had later said that many of Barkat’s allegations did not match with his statement in the FIR as well as with the footage obtained from CCTV cameras.

For instance, while Barkat said in the FIR that six men accosted him, CCTV shows two men, out of which, only one attacked him. Moreover, Barkat had told the media that his skull cap was forcibly removed, whereas the video showed the attacker hit him on his head which displaced his cap and Barkat himself had put the cap in his pocket. While Barkat told the media he was asked to chant Jai Shri Ram and Bharat Mata ki Jai, police said he did not mention it at all in the FIR.

Meanwhile, when the Swarajya correspondent met Barkat on Wednesday (29 May), he did not know that several of his claims had been refuted by the Gurugram police a day ago.

In his defence, Barkat told the correspondent that he did tell the police about the slogans but, being illiterate, he did not know what the cops ended up recording.

On the gaps between his allegations and the probe, Barkat says the CCTV seems to have captured only one angle and the other attackers were probably out of view. He also showed his white kurta torn at the shoulders and asks, “Is this kurta lying?”

“I stand by my statement,” Barkat said and showed reluctance to speak further.

Murtaza intervened and said that the police had been very helpful and cooperative. He maintained that because they were illiterate, he was not sure of the statement Barkat gave to the police. However, he regretted saying that had Barkat also stayed back for the Taraweeh namaz, that evening and not returned alone the incident would not have transpired.

Murtaza further divulged that a local man named Haji Shahzad Khan who had helped them get back the documents which the police had impounded after the incident, took Barkat to Delhi the next morning. Barkat too, obliged by the favour agreed to go with him.

According to Murtaza, “God knows what kind of videos” were made in Delhi. “I am his guardian. Shahzad should have asked me at least,” says Murtaza. “Wahan Dilli villi mein kya kya banwaya… uske saath kya kya video banwa diya” [There in Delhi, they made god knows what kind of videos],” he says.

However, it was not clear as to what Murtaza was trying to imply and whether Haji Shahzad Khan was instrumental in tutoring Barkat to give the incident a communal aspect, as the police had claimed.

Meanwhile, before the cousins could divulge further they were cut short by fellow tailors who asked the correspondent to leave citing trouble and said the matter is with the police and they should not be speaking to the media.

According to the Swarajya report, different people of the locality had different aspects. Many shop owners the correspondent spoke to, did not know about the findings in the police probe nor could they for certain say what had transpired that day.

However, one Sardar Tanwar, who runs a gifts shop opposite the sweets shop outside of which the incident took place, said some “village buffoons” roam around in the night and they could be behind the incident.

Meanwhile, another shopkeeper, Aman Dua, who runs a grocery stall just opposite the mosque, also confirmed that Muslims in the area wear skull caps all the time without any trouble.

While many locals said the ‘mahaul’ (atmosphere) is very peaceful and they find it hard to believe that such an incident has happened in the area, some Muslim stall owners said a different story.

Nausheer Ahmed, who sells dates outside the mosque, said that he is not surprised because two similar cases have taken place in the recent past.

The details of the ground report leave much to be answered. According to Swarajya, though the police have ruled out the communal angle, the fact remains that with non-availability of audio in the CCTV footage, this cannot be ruled out completely. Moreover, given the glaring gaps between Barkat’s allegations and the footage, one also wonders if he was really tutored as the police suspects?

Help Opindia Reach Every Indian. Share This Post
We need your support to survive in the media industry. Please consider paying us for the content we produce:

To know more about these payments, please click here.


Big Story

As Barkha had predicted, the Sibals also blamed the newly-elected Narendra Modi government for the advertisers to back off. Lack of advertising revenues led to deepening of their financial troubles, they claim. 

2019 World Cup Is Here!

Catch the latest on Cricket World Cup as it unfolds, special coverage by Opindia

Proud to be a brand - Made in India?
Now, Advertise on Opindia

Mangalore: Mohammad Ansari rapes a cow by tying its limbs, villagers catch him in the act, arrested

The villagers also made Ansari touch cow’s feet and ask for forgiveness for raping her. However, when Ansari approached the calf, the animal freaked out and started running.

Interview: Former RAW officer makes further shocking revelations about Hamid Ansari after alleging that he endangered lives of RAW officers in Iran

In this exclusive interview, Former RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) officer NK Sood makes further revelations about his time in Iran, Hamid Ansari and the vilified scientist Nambi Narayanan

Kapil Sibal claims Barkha Dutt was sacked before her tweets, won’t be paid anymore, Barkha says Sibal is lying

As Barkha had predicted, the Sibals also blamed the newly-elected Narendra Modi government for the advertisers to back off. Lack of advertising revenues led to deepening of their financial troubles, they claim. 
Kapil Sibal backed Tiranga TV senior producer accused of sexual harassment

Tiranga TV in yet another controversy: Girl accuses senior producer of sexual harassment, makes lewd chats public

A girl has accused the senior producer of Kapil Sibal backed Tiranga TV of sexual harassment. Himanshi Gupta took to Twitter to make lewd WhatsApp chats public.
Image Source: Newstate

Campaign to raise funds for Richa Bharti, who was ordered to distribute Quran by Ranchi court, surpasses target within hours

A 19-year old college student, Richa Bharti was ordered to distribute 5 copies of Quran as a condition of bail by the Ranchi court

Live updates Karnataka Trust Vote: The Speaker has gone to meet the Advocate General Uday Holla

JDS-Congress government of Karnataka is facing their second floor test after assembly elections were held in May last year.

Conversion at Karnataka High Court? Islamic proselytising organisation distributed Quran among judges and advocates

Salaam Centre engages in 'Dawah' or the Islamic practice of converting non-Muslims to Muslim.
Image Source: Newstate

Richa Bharti case: Ranchi Court takes back order to distribute Quran after state govt and investigating officer’s request

The Ranchi Court, which had ordered Richa Bharti to distribute 5 copies of the Quran as a condition for bail, has been forced to take back its ridiculous judgment.
Supreme court judgements - regional languages

Here are 7 bizarre judgments by the Indian Judiciary that highlight the need for urgent reforms

It's not the first time that the rather bizarre tendencies of the Indian Judiciary have been on display. In this article, we revisit some of them.
Tiranga TV boots its employees: Here is why they don't deserve any sympathy

I am a journalist and here is why I have absolutely no sympathy for the ones who joined Tiranga TV

News emerged last night that bouncers had been sent to the offices of Tiranga TV as the employees were holding a silent protest in the premises.
Subscribe to Day's Top Stories
- Advertisment -

Latest articles

Connect with us

173,593FansLike
158,679FollowersFollow
74,829SubscribersSubscribe
Help Opindia Reach Every Indian. Share This Post