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Media peddles communal angle in Jaipur-Mumbai train shooting case, but Chetan Singh had demanded early release citing illness: What the FIR says

While it suits the narrative of left-leaning propagandists and opposition political parties to brand the incident as a 'hate crime', it is worth noting that the Western Railways has denied the claims that the firing took place after an argument over communities

On July 31, a 33-year-old Railway Police Force constable identified as Chetan Singh was arrested by the police after he fired 12 rounds of his service rifle killing his senior and three other passengers on the Jaipur-Mumbai Express. Singh was not well and wanted some hours free from duty but his seniors didn’t allow him and asked him to complete his duty instead. In a fit of rage, Singh is said to have fired on the train killing his senior ASI Tikaram Meena and 3 other passengers.

According to the initial reports, Singh was arrested when he tried to flee from the train in the Dahisar region of Mumbai. While the police and the FIR mention no actual reason for the firing, the incident is being given a communal turn after the Indian Express reported that the passengers identified as Asgar Abbas Ali (48), Abdul Kadar Mohamed Hussain Bhanpurwala (64) and one another were killed following a spat that took a communal turn.

The Indian Express also said that it had obtained a video in which Singh could be allegedly heard saying that “… Pakistan se operate hue ye, aur media yehi coverage dikha rahi hai, unko sab pata chal raha hai ye kya kar rahe hain. inke aaqa hai wahan… Agar vote dena hai, agar Hindustan mein rehna hai to mai kehta hoon Modi aur Yogi, ye do hain, aur aapke Thackarey”.

The authenticity of the viral video cannot be established: Western Railways

The Railway authorities commented on the video and said that the authenticity of the video could not be established and that it was quite possible that the video was a morphed product. “Its location and authenticity cannot be established. It can also be morphed. The matter is under investigation,” Sumit Thakur, the spokesman for Western Railway, was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.

In spite of the official statement, Islamists and leftists furthered the video and claimed that Singh had killed the passengers following a fight over two communities. Islamists, leftists Twitter users and several other leftist media channels based their say on an anonymous ‘source’ from Western Railways who told the Indian Express that a fight had allegedly broken out following an argument over communities.

Leftists, and Islamists further the incident as ‘hate crime’

Alt News Co-founder Mohammed Zubair raised the issue on social media and indicated that Singh had killed the passengers over a community issue. He further tried to give a communal angle to the incident even as the police is still investigating the case.

Later the Alt News co-founder also happened to delete some of his tweets.

Following Zubair, several other leftist liberals posted the video whose authenticity could not be established by the authorities and claimed that Singh was no less than a ‘terrorist’. “Don’t call him mentally unstable and be insensitive to the entire cause of ‘mental illness’. He calculated his moves, and identified his prey. Took the names of the people he worships. He is a terrorist! That too in the uniform! Stop the whataboutery. Chetan Singh is a specimen of many more radicalised minds unleashed amongst us. Scary hell!” tweeted Radio Mirchi RJ Sayema.

Author and ‘journalist’ Sagarika Ghosh, who is infamous for peddling fake news of semen-filled balloons hurled at women on Holi, also furthered the claim that the incident was a ‘hate crime’ though neither the police nor the FIR copy has mentioned any specific reason behind the firing imposed by Singh.

The Wire’s ‘journalist’ Arfa Khanum Sherwani indicated that the youth of India was radicalised by the ruling government and that it was a fact to worry about. “4 murders by RPF Constable Chetan Singh on a moving train using his official rifle is an act of terror by a man in uniform. Radicalization project is complete and India is at a point of no return We should be worried, very worried,” Sherwani tweeted.

Print ‘journalist’ Swati Chaturvedi said, “Communal clashes in NCR, spreading to the millennium city of Gurugram, RPF constable, Chetan Singh kills four rants about “Modi & Yogi” join the dots who have radicalised New India? The pliable panna pramukhs who do Hindu vs Muslim daily. Takeaway Your money and gated community won’t keep you safe GGN.”

Some of the anti-Modi and anti-India global media channels like Al Jazeera also reported the news claiming that Singh had fired the Muslim passengers after they engaged in a fight over communities. Basing its report on one of the ‘sources’ of the Indian Express, the global media report indicated that this was the result of the hate that has been allegedly spread all over the nation by the ruling government in India.

Political parties also call it deliberate targeting

Further political parties like the Indian National Congress and the AIMIM also called the incident a hate crime and claimed that the passengers were deliberately targeted by Chetan Singh who has now been arrested by the police. “The cold-blooded murders carried out by an RPF constable is the result of a hyper-charged and highly polarised news media and social media atmosphere. The genie of hate is now out of the bottle and it will take a lot of collective effort to put it back in,” Congress’ Jairam Ramesh said.

“It is being said that the terrorist of Mumbai Express who killed 4 innocent people was mentally ill. If saying that “If you want to live in India, vote for Modi, Yogi or Thackeray” is a sign of mental illness, then don’t know how many people of Watan-e-Aziz are patients. If he was mentally ill then why was he put on duty? If someone had taken my name even after being caught in a minor crime, I would have been crucified by now,” tweeted AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi.

Western Railways denies the angle of argument over communities

While it suits the narrative of left-leaning propagandists and opposition political parties to brand the incident as a ‘hate crime’, it is worth noting that Western Railways has denied the claims that the firing took place after an argument over communities. The Railways has also hinted that the video that is doing the rounds on the internet could have been edited and morphed.

“Its location and authenticity cannot be established. It can also be morphed. The matter is under investigation,” Sumit Thakur, spokesman for Western Railway, said in a statement to the Indian Express.

Also, GRP Commissioner Ravindra Shisve commented on the issue and said that the police are yet to ascertain the motive of the killing. The Railway officers meanwhile also said that the accused officer was hot-headed and that he had some mental health issues. “Apparently he is known to be hot-headed. But then we found no such instance in his record of the past five years. His record has been clean and that’s why I posted him in Mumbai when he requested six months ago,” P C Sinha, Principal Chief Security Commissioner of Western Railway was quoted as saying.

Refusing any angle of argument in the incident, Sinha further said, “He had a short fuse. He was quite hot-headed. There was no altercation. He just lost his temper and shot his senior, then fired at whoever he saw.” The officers further say that the investigation in the case is at a premature stage and that a high-level committee has been constituted to conduct an inquiry into the incident.

Here’s what actually happened on July 31 as per the FIR

Team OpIndia accessed the FIR in the case and learned that 33-year-old Chetan Singh was not feeling well and had informed the same to his colleagues. He wanted some hours free from his ongoing duty but was suggested by his seniors to rest after finishing the duty hours. As per the FIR filed by another RPF constable Amey Acharya, Singh continued to say that he was unwell and that would get off the train at Valsad station.

But his senior, ASI Tikaram Meena contacted the Mumbai Central Control and complained about Singh. The Control then asked Singh to stay calm and finish off his pending duty of three hours. Meena then asked the Acharya to get some cold beverages for Singh but the accused RPF officer refused to have any.

“I had gone to see ASI Meena as I wanted to submit my work report. On reaching his bogey ASI told me that Chetan Singh was not well and that he wanted the rest of his work hours off. I touched Singh to check but I could not gauge whether he had a fever. Singh did not agree as ASI insisted he completes his duty,” Acharya said in the FIR.

He then added that ASI asked him to take Singh’s rifle and allow him to take rest for some time. However, Singh could not sleep for more than 15 minutes. “I was seated next to him while he was resting but after 10 to 15 minutes he suddenly got up and forcefully took the rifle from me. As I was not ready to give the rifle, he even tried to strangle me,” the FIR read.

Later, Acharya realized that Singh had accidentally exchanged his rifle so he along with other RPF men chased Singh. “Even while returning my rifle and taking possession of his own rifle, I saw that Singh was very furious. Meena was still trying to explain to him but Singh kept arguing. Even I intervened in between and tried to make him understand to stay calm, but he was not listening to either of us. So I decided to go away from there,” Acharya’s police statement read.

The firing happened but the reason is unknown, mentions FIR

Meanwhile, Acharya also noticed that Singh had removed the safety catch of his rifle and that he suspected that he was in the position to fire. Acharya informed ASI about the same and left as Singh was not ready to listen to anyone. “After half an hour one of the RPF officers called me from the office and informed me that ASI Meena had been shot. I ran to the bogey in which ASI Meena was sitting. Later I saw Singh with rifle and he was still furious. I asked passengers to be safe and informed the control room. Singh moved with the rifle and continued to fire the train,” the FIR read.

FIR copy obtained by OpIndia

Notably, the FIR clearly mentions that Singh fired bullets from his rifle due to unknown reasons and not the communal angle attached to the incident by the leftists. FIR against Singh has been filed under the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Arms Act, 1959 and Railways Act, 1989. While Singh has been arrested, the police are investigating the case to know the reasons behind the firing and are also verifying the viral video.

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Siddhi Somani
Siddhi Somani
Siddhi Somani is known for her satirical and factual hand in Economic, Social and Political writing. Having completed her post graduation in Journalism, she is pursuing her Masters in Politics. The author meanwhile is also exploring her hand in analytics and statistics. (Twitter- @sidis28)

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