A piece of news from Kanpur has been doing the rounds on social media after it was extensively shared by mainstream media organisations. The news says that a person named Shakeel was beaten up by his neighbours for putting up a BJP flag in his neighbourhood. They further added that Shakeel had alleged that his neighbours threatened him with gouging his eyes out and slitting his neck. Some media organisations even linked this entire matter to the incident of Babar Ali of Kushinagar.
A report published by Aaj Tak on 1 April 2022 (Friday) said that only neighbours threatened to behead an educated Muslim youth for putting up a BJP flag, but he was publicly assaulted many times. It further mentioned that Shakeel worked in a multinational company and got an FIR registered against his assailants but no one has been arrested to date.
According to a report by TV9, “The case is of Juhi Colony of Kidwai Nagar. The incident took place on March 29 (Tuesday).” It further said that Shahnawaz, Rashid, Rizwan and Bhallu were the primary accused in the case who constantly issued threats to Shakeel, whom the channel referred to as the victim.
In the same case, according to a report by Hindi vernacular Amar Ujala, “The BJP flag at Shakeel’s house was snatched and thrown away. The report said Shakeel Ahmed identified himself as a BJP supporter and a few days back a BJP MLA had garlanded him. This did not sit well with many of his neighbours, the article contended, leading to their altercation with Shakeel.
Similarly, according to a News18 report, “Shakeel received threats that he would be beheaded and his eyes gouged out if he does not go along with the Muslims. The article stated that Shakeel was a BJP supporter since 2013 and that there is panic in his house following the death threats.
On the same development, The Quint wrote, “This time in the assembly elections, he put up BJP flag at his house while Congress flag was installed in the rest of the locality. Neighbour Shahnawaz, along with his family members, beat him up for putting up the BJP flag. After this, he lodged an FIR in the Kidwai Nagar police station.”
After multiple news organisations reported that a BJP supporter was assaulted, the saffron party issued a clarification. It said Shakeel has got nothing to do with the party.
On Shakeel’s allegations, BJP Nirala Nagar Ward 84 President Arvind Kushwaha issued a letter addressed to SHO Kidwai Nagar. The letter reads, “Abdul Shakeel, who was residing in my ward 84, was never associated with BJP, in the past or in present.”
The dispute is related to house rent: Shakeel’s neighbour
As the claims of Shakeel being assaulted for putting up a BJP flag on top of his house started doing the rounds in the media, Kanpur Police swung into action to get to the bottom of the truth. In a video released by the police, Shakeel’s neighbour, Rajendra Singh, debunks the false claims that are being bandied around on social media platforms and by various news organisations.
“There was this jewellery shop in the neighbourhood, which was forcibly vacated. Since then there have been some tensions in the locality. On the day of the incident, both sides were involved in the fighting. Since I belonged to the locality, I reached there and tried separating the sparring parties. When the fighting ended, there was no flag hanging at Shakeel’s house. I warned both sides not to quarrel again and if they did, I will call the police and send them to jail. Nothing happened after that,” Singh said.
#POLICE_COMMISSIONERATE_KANPUR_NAGAR के थाना किदवई नगर में मकान में झंडा लगाने को लेकर हुए विवाद में सामने आए चश्मदीद गवाह और पड़ोस में रहने वाले राजेन्द्र सिंह ने बताया कि विवाद राजनीतिक पार्टी के झंडे या मारपीट का नहीं बल्कि किरायेदारी को लेकर है। @Uppolice @News18P @aajtak pic.twitter.com/SQqNlNuvOC— POLICE COMMISSIONERATE KANPUR NAGAR (@kanpurnagarpol) April 1, 2022
Singh further added that he has no idea of the claims that are being made in the media. He said he has no inkling of when the FIR was filed by Shakeel. “When did he (Shakeel) file the FIR is not known to me. My name is also in this, so I am coming forward and telling you that there was no such incident of assault in front of me. The BJP flag has been put up since yesterday. The matter was about the house, and it was a minor tussle between the two sides. No one is injured and no one has been hurt in this incident,” Singh further clarified.
‘Do not spread misleading information’: Kanpur Police
Kanpur Police has asked social media users and media organisations to stop spreading misleading information pertaining to the flag dispute.
#POLICE_COMMISSIONERATE_KANPUR_NAGAR के थाना किदवई नगर में मकान में झंडा लगाने के विवाद में सामने आए चश्मदीद पड़ोसी व वार्ड अध्यक्ष के बयानों ने घटना की मंशा स्पस्ट कर दी है, उचित कार्रवाई के लिए पुलिस जांच कर रही है, कृपया भ्रामक सूचनाएं न फैलाएं। @News18P— POLICE COMMISSIONERATE KANPUR NAGAR (@kanpurnagarpol) April 1, 2022
According to the police, “The statements of the eyewitness neighbour and the ward president, who came to the fore in the wake of news reports of a dispute over waving a BJP flag, have revealed why the altercation actually took place”. It further said that investigations are underway and appropriate action will be taken.
A similar occurrence had happened in Indore, police had denied
A similar incident happened in Indore, Madhya Pradesh as well. In March 2022, Yusuf of MG Road police station had accused Sharif Mansoori of assaulting himself for putting up a photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his house. However, the police, in its investigation, found that the matter was about the tenant-landlord dispute and not about PM Modi’s picture in the house.
The dispute between Yusuf and Sharif had been going on for a long time, the police said. Despite calling him multiple times, Yusuf did not appear in front of the police. Later, Sharif Mansoori accused Yusuf of seeking cheap publicity by alleging that he had assaulted him for putting up a picture of PM Modi.