Note: Later reports suggests the main accused’s name is Parvez Gujjar and not Parvesh Gujjar.
An occult practice going wrong being turned into ‘forced to chant Jai Shri Ram’- a religious hate crime. The tales of the Ghaziabad crime spread far and wide like Chinese whispers.
Some claimed that the old victim was kidnapped, threatened at gunpoint and made to say ‘Jai Shri Ram’ while some went a step ahead to claim he was also made to chant ‘Vande Mataram’. They said it all except what was being reported by the police basis the investigations and the ongoing probe.
Here is the chronology of what happened:
Abdul Samad-the occult amulet maker thrashed by a group of men
On June 5, 2021, Abdul Samad from Ghaziabad was allegedly thrashed by a Parvesh Gujjar, Aarif, Adil, Mushahid, Kallu and a few others for selling an amulet to the prime accused which allegedly had ‘adverse effects’ on his family. The accused in the crime had planned to seek revenge for the occult solution going wrong.
Samad’s elder son claims he submitted a written complaint to police
As per one report by The Wire, Samad’s elder son claimed he submitted a handwritten complaint to the Loni Border police station drafted with the help of Samajwadi Party leader Umed Pahalwan Idrisi. His son also claimed that no one in the family was involved in making ‘taveez’. However, the same was contradicted by other witnesses as well as Abdul in a video shot moments before he was thrashed. In the video, Abdul had admitted to have made the ‘taveez’ on instructions of Intezar, who acted as his agent for occult practices.
In the unstamped complaint, Babbu Saifi (Samad’s elder son) claimed that his father was picked up by a group of unknown men while he was on his dargah on the pretext of dropping him. He was then taken to an unknown location where he was thrashed, his long beard cut, made to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ every time he screamt ‘Allah’ on being hit and was asked to drink the urine of the attackers.
The said ‘complaint’ did not have any acknowledgment stamp from police so no evidence to suggest this was actually submitted by the victim.
FIR of assault filed
On June 7, 2021, the Loni Border Police Station registered an FIR basis the complaint and initiated investigations.
Ghaziabad (rural) SP Iraj Raja revealed, “In the first FIR, which was filed on June 7, the victim didn’t name anybody and neither told us about being abducted and thrashed and forced to chant Jai Shri Ram.”
SSP Amit Pathak too during a press conference revealed that three attackers Parvesh, Adil and Kallu were nabbed basis the information received by the victim. The three during the interrogation confessed to knowing Samad as opposed to the victim’s claim.
The police also highlighted the discrepancies in the victim’s narrative. The prime accused Parvesh, his family and other witnesses in the case had confirmed that the victim Samad was well known to the family and he had been visiting them for the last three months.
Alt News turns personal animosity into a religious hate crime
On June 14, Alt News co-founder Muhammed Zubair uploaded a muted video (which now stands deleted) of the incident where the victim was being assaulted and Tweeted that the man was threatened at gunpoint, beaten, assaulted and the perpetrators forcefully chopped off his beard.
Soon after, Zubair posted another video (also deleted) which was a Facebook live done by SP leader Idrisi with photos of SP leader Akhilesh Yadav hanging on the wall. Samad in this video showed the marks of assault and claimed that he was forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’.
It is imperative to note that these videos were uploaded and made viral with the help of the left ecosystem and publications such as The Wire and TheQuint 10 days after the incident.
TheQuint also published a Hinduphobic cartoon on the incident which has since been taken down.
Ghaziabad police issues clarification
On the very same day, Ghaziabad police uploaded a video apprising of the case giving relevant details and kept the social media users updated with the development thereon.
उक्त वीडियो वायरल के संबंध में पीड़ित की तहरीर पर पूर्व में ही अभियोग थाना लोनी बॉर्डर पर पंजीकृत है मुख्य अभियुक्त वर्तमान में जेल में निरुद्ध है अन्य अभियुक्त गण की शीघ्र गिरफ्तारी कर प्रकरण में आगे की कार्रवाई की जाएगी । बाइट सीओ लोनी pic.twitter.com/1EeZ6h6RUO— GHAZIABAD POLICE (@ghaziabadpolice) June 14, 2021
The police clarified that there was no communal angle to the story.
Uttar Pradesh government takes cognizance
Despite multiple updates by the UP Police on the case, scores of articles and Tweets flooded the social media platforms turning a personal rivalry into a religious crime.
Attempts were made by the politicians to turn this into an international issue. One AAP leader urged netizens to tag international media to grab their attention.
However, in an attempt to bring the hippodrome of fake news to an end, the Uttar Pradesh government filed an FIR on June 15 against Twitter for failing to flag the video with unverified claims as ‘manipulative’ and lack of action.
Alt News co-founder Zubair, Rana Ayyub, The Wire, Salman Nizami, Maksoor Usmani, Sama Mohammad and Saba Naqvi have also been booked for spreading misleading and fake news.
Zubair takes down videos
Following the FIR, Muhammed Zubair on June 15 took down the muted video of the incident where he claimed the victim was forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram.’
To follow the suit were Saba Naqvi and Rana Ayyub who declared they will wait for the police investigations to complete before commenting on the case.
Ghaziabad police warns publishers from fanning communal tension
Uttar Pradesh Police in a press conference held on June 16 apprised about the FIRs registered against Twitter, The Wire and seven individuals.
SSP Amit Pathak also warned, “We are still watchful and if anyone is found furthering the narrative and deliberately publishes hateful content to disturb the communal harmony, strict action will be taken.
Ghaziabad: ट्विटर पर FIR के मामले को लेकर पुलिस एसएसपी अमित पाठक का बयान, कहा- ‘सोशल मीडिया पर ऐसे कंटेंट डाले गए जिससे कि लोगों की भडकाव की भावना पैदा हुई। कानूनी रूप से ट्विटर के खिलाफ कार्यवाही की जायेगी’ @ghaziabadpolice @TwitterIndia @UPGovt pic.twitter.com/eybVcizc1G— Newsroom Post (@NewsroomPostCom) June 16, 2021
He added that the police is identifying other publishers too, who had fanned the false narrative trying to give the incident a communal colour.
Man who hired Abdul to make ‘tabeez’ reveals details
As investigation progressed, one Bauna Saddam revealed that he was introduced to occultist Abdul by his brother in law Intezar for a taveez. He said that Intezar had also introduced the accused Parvesh Gujjar to Abdul for similar taveez. However, as per Abdul, on Intezar’s instructions, he created ‘taveez’ which misfired for Parvesh.
Parvesh got Abdul to admit this and confronted Intezar. Soon, each side called their supporters and a fight broke out. In the same, Abdul was also thrashed.
In another video, one can see the occult material retrieved from Abdul Samad Saifi.
Ghaziabad police files a case against SP leader
Ghaziabad police has also registered a case against SP leader Umed Pahalwan Idris, who appeared in a Facebook Live video alongside the victim.
An FIR against him states, “The accused made an unnecessary video with the complainant and, without verifying the facts of the case, carried out religious discussions on his Facebook, which spread animosity in the community.”
“The accused attempted to give the incident a communal colour and disturb societal balance. This act hurt religious sentiments. The particular act presented a threat to law and order and tried to divide between Hindus and Muslim community,” it added.
However, attempts are still being made by several media houses to paint it as a communal and religious hate crime by calling the police records, statements and investigation a “narrative.”