In past few days, ‘liberals’ have taken to social media to claim that a man, 28-year-old Akhlaq Salami, was a victim of a hate crime. They claimed that his hand was ‘chopped off’ because it was tattooed with ‘786’, the numerical equivalent of the Arabic phrase ‘Bismillah’ in Islam.
2015: Akhlaq, a 52-yr-old in Dadri, lynched for allegedly eating beef. Huge uproar, intellectuals return awards.— Irena Akbar (@irenaakbar) September 10, 2020
2020: Akhlaq, a 28-yr-old barber, beaten in Panipat, his arm, inked with ‘786’, chopped. Silence.
Between the 2 Akhlaqs, killing Muslims becomes acceptable in India
Former Indian Express journalist Irena Akbar claimed there was ‘silence’ over the ‘hate crime’ perpetrated on Akhlaq.
Pic 1 is the bank account details of Ikram Salmani , brother of Akhlaq, who has lost his hand. He alleged it was chopped off. At the moment the family is taking him via Saharanpur to PGI #Chandigarh by ambulance.— Tehseen Poonawalla Official (@tehseenp) September 12, 2020
If anyone wants to contribute🙏 ❤#SaturdayMotivation pic.twitter.com/pZYQM52H4x
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi’s brother in law, Tehseen Poonawalla also started a fund-raiser for Akhlaq by sharing his brother’s bank details. Similar tweets were shared by vairious popular Twitter accounts.
Maktoob Media, a Kerala-based website which had earlier accessed ‘leaked‘ video of Jamia Millia Islamia library from anti-CAA riots, was one of the first websites to make such claims.
Congress leader Salman Nizami, who was recently caught peddling fake news, was also amongst those who shared the claims.
TheWire, too, peddle the narrative that a Muslim man was thrashed over ‘786’ tattoo. However, as usual, truth appears far from the propaganda on social media.
The incident took place in Panipat, Haryana on 23rd August, 2020. Akhlaq was found injured near railway tracks.
As reported by TheQuint, the family of the child has alleged that when they were sleeping in the verandah in their home near the railway line, they noticed the child was missing. When they started looking for him, they reached a nearby park where they saw Akhlaq with the child who was undressed. Akhlaq then allegedly tried to run away toward the railway track. Family then took their son and brought him home. The child has alleged that Akhlaq tried to push his private parts into his mouth.
ACP Panipat, Satish Kumar Vats, told Indian Express that Akhlaq was accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a minor boy. The child’s uncle has said that the boy broke two of his teeth and there were marks of assault on his body. As per the police, Akhlaq possibly escaped in an inebriated state and injured himself while on railway track. He alleged that the accused’s brother is sharing the images on social media and giving the incident a communal angle.
Two FIRs are lodged in the case. One by the child’s family and one on the statement of Akhlaq’s brother who has claimed that his brother was attacked because of his Muslim identity.
Railways Police has lodge an FIR on Akhlaq’s complaint under section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 34 (common intention) of the IPC. Meanwhile, the child’s family has registered a complaint at Chandni Bagh Police station in Panipat under Section 6 (punishment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault), Section 18 (punishment for attempt to commit an offence) of the POCSO Act and Section 323 of the IPC.