Ghaziabad Assault Case: Police arrest Samajwadi Party leader for 'egging' victim to give case communal tone

Loni Circle Officer Atul Kumar Sonkar said a case had been filed against the accused, based on the elderly man’s complaint

FP Staff June 14, 2021 18:10:09 IST
Ghaziabad Assault Case: Police arrest Samajwadi Party leader for 'egging' victim to give case communal tone

A screenshot from a video of the incident. Twitter/@unknwnn_gir

A Samajwadi Party worker was arrested on Saturday for allegedly instigating an elderly Muslim man to claim in a video that he was beaten up by four youths who also chopped his beard and asked him to chant Jai Shri Ram in Loni area of Ghaziabad.

The move comes after various media publications, including Firstpost, reported the news of the alleged communal attack on the elderly man.

However, the police have refuted the survivor's claim stating that it was a case of assault due to personal enmity, which was given communal colour after deliberation by the SP leader.

Ummaid Pehelwan Idrisi, who was absconding since Wednesday when an FIR was lodged against him at the Loni Border police station, was nabbed from Delhi on Saturday, a Ghaziabad police official said.

Pehelwan, identified as the accused, was held near the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) hospital in Delhi by a team of Ghaziabad police. After his arrest there, he is being brought here for further proceedings in the case, Ghaziabad Senior Superintendent of Police Amit Pathak told reporters.

Why was Idris arrested?

The FIR, filed against Idrisi on the complaint of a local policeman, alleged that he had "unnecessarily" made the video — in which Abdul Shamad Saifi narrates his ordeal.

It was made with an intention to "create social disharmony" and shared it through his Facebook account, the FIR said.

He was booked under IPC sections 153A (promoting enmity between groups on ground of religion, class etc), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious belief), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 505 (public mischief).

A separate FIR was lodged against him on Thursday evening in Bulandshahr district that charged him and around 100 others with violation of the COVID-19 norms by holding a public gathering on June 16, the officials said.

What's the police's version?

Bulandshahr resident Saifi, who had made communal allegations in his video on 14 June, had earlier on 7 June alleged in a complaint to the Ghaziabad police that he was assaulted by four youths on 5 June after being abducted by them and confined in a room in a secluded field in Ghaziabad's Loni area.

On being asked about Saifi's communal allegations, Ghaziabad's SSP Pathak had said earlier that the elderly Muslim man had made no communal allegations in his original complaint.

The SSP had also suspected someone behind instigating Saifi to make communal allegations.

Ghaziabad's SP (Rural) had also said the police had already arrested the main accused Parvez Gurjar for being behind the assault on Saifi.

Raja had said Gurjar had a dispute with Saifi over the purchase of a magical amulet from the Bulanddshahr man, who also practised occultism.

Saifi had sold Gurjar an amulet claiming that it would rid him of all family problems but Gurjar had begun facing a spate of troubles after the purchase of the amulet and suspected that all his misfortunes were due to the amulet.

The backstory

Saifi had alleged he was beaten up by four people in his hometown on 5 June, one of whom used anti-Islamic slurs and even cut off the man’s beard. The video of the incident, which was widely circulated on social media, purportedly shows one of the accused thrashing the elderly man, who is pleading with them

According to Indian Express, the victim alleged that he was targeted because of his religion.

He was on his way to a mosque in Loni town on 5 June when the incident took place, as per NDTV. The main accused in the case has been arrested.

He said that he was kidnapped by miscreants who took him to an isolated place, assaulted him, and forced him to chant 'Jai Shri Ram’ and 'Vande Mataram'.

The man later released a video describing the attack. "They kicked and punched me and forced me to shout ‘Jai Shri Ram’,” he said, breaking into tears. “They put a gun to my head and said they’ll kill me. They continued to beat me for hours and I kept screaming.”

Loni Circle Officer Atul Kumar Sonkar said a case had been filed against the accused, based on the elderly man’s complaint. “The main accused is presently detained in jail and further action will be taken in the case by arresting the other accused,” he added.

Saifi is yet to comment on Idris' arrest or the police's version of the story.

With inputs from PTI

The previous version of this story carried only Abdul Saifi's allegations, it has been updated since to reflect new facts about the story.

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