Exclusive: Another ‘hate crime’ turns out to be fake, Bhaghpat SP says Imam was not made to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’

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Repeating a PTI syndicate feed, several media houses reported today that one Imam (Muslim cleric) called Imlaq-Ur-Rehman was assaulted by men and was made to chant Jai Shree Ram. The report also mentions that his beard was pulled by the assailants and that the police has booked 12 people in connection with this case. This has turned out to be another case of fake ‘hate crime’ that is being propagated by the media.

OpIndia reached out to Superintendent of Police of Baghpat police station who has categorically rubbished the claims and asserted that Imam Imlaq-Ur-Rehman was not made to chant Jai Shree Ram, his beard was not pulled and there was no religious undertone to this assault. He asserted that this was a case of a petty brawl between some men and the Imam.

SP Shalesh Kumar Pandey said that the Imam and the assailants are from Muzaffarnagar. After the fight, the Imam, along with several of his supporters reached the Muzaffarnagar police station to file a complaint. While in the police station, the Imam narrated the incident of the assault and at that time, there was no mention of the allegation that he was made to chant Jai Shree Ram or that his beard was pulled by the assailants.

The Imam was later informed that while he and the alleged assailants were from Muzaffarnagar, the incident that occurred falls in the purview of Baghpat police station.

It was when the Imam reached Baghpat police station, was the fact about being forced to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’ added in his complaint.

SP Kumar added that he had confirmed with the Muzaffarnagar police station that when the initial FIR was filed, no such mention of any religious slogan was mentioned.

While speaking to OpIndia, SP Kumar also said that when the Imam had narrated the incident at the Muzaffarnagar police station, the entire episode was recorded and he had confirmed from the video footage that no religious chant was mentioned initially.

On being asked why he thought the claims of being forced to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’ was added as an afterthought, he said that perhaps the Imam came under the influence of his supporters and added it thinking that his case would be taken seriously if it becomes religious in nature and such sentiments are only fanned by the media.

The Superintendent of Police also confirmed that the town is absolutely peaceful and the police is yet to determine what started the brawl in the first place.

Interestingly, the media has reported that 12 people have already been booked in this case. This claim was also contested by the SP. He said that they have their suspicion on 2-3 individuals but the process of investigation is still on-going and nobody has been booked yet.

Recently in various cities, there have been incidents of violence after Friday prayers by Muslim mobs protesting against “mob lynchings” and alleged incidents of Muslims being forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram”, though many of such claims have been found to be either false or unverified.

Nupur J Sharma: Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017
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