The Airtel number you are calling is switched off. Please call again later.
This was the continuous response from the phone number that Firstpost tried calling umpteen number of times on Monday. It belongs to Manas Deka, coordinator, BJP National Security Cell. However, it was not surprising at all to find the mobile phone switched off.
Thanks to the feisty boss of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU)—Kanhaiya Kumar—and the high-handedness of his friends, they managed to put an unassuming individual in as much trouble as they could. His fault: his name is Manas Deka and he is a BJP man.
The whole drama started on Sunday when Kanhaiya apparently got into a fight with one of his co-flyers aboard a Jet Airways flight bound from Mumbai to Pune claiming that he was under attack. His co-passenger—Manas Jyoti Deka—nearly a namesake of BJP's Manas Deka, is a Tata Consultancy Services employee and was sitting next to Kanhaiya in the flight.
Although multiples versions are emerging as to what exactly transpired between the two, there was certainly physical contact, although the degree of its severity now resides in the realm of phantasmagoria. While Kanhaiya claimed that it was an attempt to "strangulate" him, the TCS employee brushed it aside as a "cheap publicity stunt". All including the high profile Kanhaiya and company and Deka got offloaded after it was decided so by the captain of the aircraft.
The action didn't end here. Having turned into the poster boy of the Indian media of late, Kanhaiya and company decided to make use of the incident to get another round of limelight. As luck or ill-luck would have it, they discovered that there is one Manas Deka in the BJP. Both the Manas Dekas are also from Assam. Then went out a series of tweets from Kanhaiya. Boom!
"Yet again, this time inside the aircraft, a man tries to strangulate me."
"After the incident @jetairways staff completely refuses to take any action against the man who assaulted me."
"Basically @jetairways sees no difference between someone who assaults nd d person who is assaulted. They will deplane you, if you complain."
And then the bomb:
So charged up Kanhaiya got for his Pune event, he tweeted soon after:
Unwilling to relent and check into facts, Kanhaiya kept his virtual assault on albeit on two individuals together — one in the know and the other completely ignorant about the whole issue until hell fell on him.
"I was not in touch with the news as I was busy with something else. I got to know about it around 6 pm (on Monday)," BJP's Manas Deka told Firstpost from New Delhi after he finally switched on his phone and picked up the call.
Before that, the moment Manas realised that the call is from a media house, he immediately said, "I am not that Manas." Only after he was let known that Firstpost is aware about it, he did answer to the question on the number of calls he received with a sigh of relief. "I have attended some 150 calls today (Monday). I also have a huge number of missed calls. Besides I had kept my phone in switched off mode for a while," he said.
Leave alone Mumbai, BJP's Manas Deka was not even in the state of Maharashtra when all this ruckus happened. Tired and polite, although a BJP member, Manas sounded quite unlikely a person who would strangle the JNU student union leader even if he meets him in person. "I have had enough of this. I just wanted this matter to be closed," he said, not uttering a single word of vengeance against Kanhaiya.
Are you listening, Mr Kanhaiya Kumar?
The other Manas Deka, who works in the BPO arm of IT giant TCS in Kolkata, however, could not be reached despite multiple attempts. His byte to TV channels later after the incident that he is not a BJP member or supported in all likelihood holds some water given the confusion with the name.
No sooner the matter out in public domain, the amount of hate messages that TCS's Manas Deka got on his Facebook profile made him delete it. But the snooping crowd was quick enough to to dig this out from the account before it disappeared.
Leaving his like or dislike for Kanhaiya Kumar or JNU in the personal domain, it is however quite confounding to the common sense that any sane individual would choose a filled Boeing aircraft to strangulate another human being.
As Kanhaiya went about in Pune with his "Jai Bheem! Laal Salaam!" agenda, there was however not any remorse or apology from this emerging student leader who has lately taken the responsibility of reforming India.
Worse, even social media ignited with much venom willing to take on the TCS employee.
And there was another among many which jumped to the conclusion even before the formal investigation is over.
TCS has maintained silence on the issue so far.
In the meanwhile, no one had the time to think that in all this mayhem, there is an individual who bore the brunt of this fracas quite needlessly.
Kanhaiya Kumar now often embarks on tours to spread the message of Babasaheb Bhimnrao Ambedkar and democracy. On 14 April, while reaching Nagpur, the JNUSU president had tweeted: "As I arrive at Nagpur to spread his message of Dignity, Justice nd Peace."
Left "Wondering?" how? Over to trolls.