On Monday (June 14), Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair took to Twitter to claim that an elderly Muslim man, Abdul Samad Saifi, in Ghaziabad was assaulted and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’. The incident took place in Loni in Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh.
Zubair tweeted, “An elderly man, Sufi Abdul Samad Saifi was attacked by five goons in Loni, Ghaziabad. He was threatened at the gunpoint, beaten, assaulted, and they forcefully chopped off his beard.” In a video shared by the ‘fact-checker, the victim could be seen being thrashed with sticks by the culprit. His beard was also cut forcibly using a scissor.
An elderly Man, Sufi Abdul Samad Saifi was attacked by five goons in Loni, Ghaziabad. He was threatened at the gun point, beaten, assaulted and they forcefully chopped off his beard. @ghaziabadpolice @Uppolice pic.twitter.com/0QphDcnKUN— Mohammed Zubair (@zoo_bear) June 14, 2021
While speaking about the matter, Abdul Samad Saifi claimed that he was about to board an autorickshaw but was stopped by the accused. He said that his face was covered with a handkerchief and taken to an undisclosed location. Saifi alleged that he was locked inside a room and brutally thrashed. He also claimed that the miscreants had forced him to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ at gunpoint. “They told me that they have killed several Muslims in the past and will do the same to me,” Saifi further alleged.
“There were a total of 5 people. They stopped me from remembering the name of Allah and told me to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and Ram Ram,” Saifi was seen breaking into tears. While commenting on the victim’s testimony, Zubair had tweeted, “Here is a video of Abdul Samad Saifi narrating the complete incident. He claims he was forced to chant ‘Jai Sri Ram’ by the goons.”
He shows his wounds. pic.twitter.com/bvDLsXX3O9— Mohammed Zubair (@zoo_bear) June 14, 2021
In another video shared by Zubair, the victim showcased the wounds on his hand and back, inflicted by the culprits during the assault.
What is the truth?
In a tweet, Ghaziabad police informed that three accused had been arrested in the case. According to the police, the incident took place about 10 days ago on June 5, 2021. The victim Abdul Samad Saifi had travelled to the Loni border from Bulandshahr, where he was escorted to the house of accused Parvesh Gujjar in Banthala in Loni. After some time, the co-accused, namely, Kallu, Poli, Arif, Adil aka Mushahid arrived at Parvesh’s house and began thrashing the victim.
The victim Saifi sold amulets for a living. According to the police, the accused were miffed after the amulet proved harmful to them. Unlike what the victim had alleged, the police said that he knew the culprits for a long time. Reportedly, Saifi had sold his amulets to several people in the village through the accused. The police had initially arrested Parvesh while Adil and Kallu were nabbed on Monday (June 14). A case has been registered against them under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The cops assured that the other culprits would soon be arrested.
It must be pointed out that the video of the assault does not contain any audio, which can verify the claim that Saifi was coerced into chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ or ‘Ram Ram’. Moreover, the victim had alleged that a gun was used by the accused to intimidate him although it wasn’t visible in the video footage. The police had clarified that the accused and the victim knew each other prior to the incident and that it was a case of personal rivalary. The cops did not mention any reference to religious slogans in their statement.
The only claim of ‘religious sloganeering stemss from the testimony of the victim, which was shot after the assault. Despite no adequate proof of the same, ‘fact checker’ and Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair went ahead to peddle the unverified claim. His desperate attempt to impart a communal colour to the incident proved futile as two accused namely Adil and Arif were also Muslims (the same religion as that of the victim), who are also quite unlikely to ask the elderly man to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’.
However, this is not the first time when a case of personal rivalry has been given a communal angle to defame sacred Hindu chants by Islamists.
Fake communal angle in Asif Khan murder case
Last month, Haryana Police had ruled out any communal angle in the murder of Muslim youth Asif. As per reports, Asif, along with his two cousins was returning from his sister’s house when he was allegedly attacked by a group of men and was beaten to death. However, soon after the report of his death poured in, some media houses claimed that he was forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ before being killed, thereby giving it a communal angle.
Kerala-based portal Maktoob Media claimed that Asif was ‘forced to chant Jai Shri Ram’ and referred to the religious slogan as ‘warcry of Hindu nationalist militants’. However, Maktoob Media offered no evidence to prove this fact. In fact, even the initial statement of one of the witnesses said how they were attacked by a group where most men were known to them.
As could be heard, the witness made no reference whatsoever about the crime being communal. Later, the Haryana Police had also given a statement and ruled out any communal angle. According to Police, two cases have been filed against Asif alias Saddu and five against Pradeep alias Patwari, the prime accused in Asif murder case. Initial investigation had revealed that Asif was a close aide of BSP leader from Sohna, Javed Ahmed. He was a relative of Congress MLA from Nuh, Chaudhary Aftab Ahmed. Pradeep is a close aide of local BJP leader, Bhalla, who is, in turn, a close aide of BJP’s Sohna MLA Kanwar Sanjay Singh.
Note: Later reports suggests the main accused’s name is Parvez Gujjar and not Parvesh Gujjar.