Muslim man says 'beaten, forced to chant Jai Shri Ram' in Ghaziabad; police say no such claims in FIR

GHAZIABAD: The Ghaziabad Police has booked a Samajwadi Party worker here over a “communal video” of an elderly Muslim man alleging attack by some young men, with the FIR also mentioning that Facebook let the “misleading” clip circulate without making efforts to verify it.

The FIR, however, does not mention Facebook as an accused in the case in which opposition Samajwadi Party’s worker Ummaid Pehelwan Idrisi has been charged with promoting enmity and breach of peace by circulating the video on social media and giving it a “communal colour”.

On his Facebook account, Idrisi identifies himself as a Samajwadi Party worker and has posted purported pictures of him with party chief Akhilesh Yadav.

Requesting anonymity, an SP office-bearer confirmed that Idrisi was a member of the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) board during the SP government, and is still a party worker.

The case was lodged at the Loni Border police station Wednesday evening, a day after the Ghaziabad police booked Twitter, a news website, some journalists and opposition Congress politicians, in a separate FIR over circulation of the video.

Filed on the complaint of a local policeman, the FIR states that Idrisi had “unnecessarily” made the video — in which Abdul Shamad Saifi narrates his ordeal — with an intention to “create social disharmony” and shared it on his Facebook account.

“He shared on his social media account the video which had religious context to it without verifying the truth of the matter. It gave the incident a communal colour and was an attempt at disrupting social harmony,” stated the FIR, which has been seen by PTI.

The FIR has been lodged under 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), 505 (public mischief).

Idrisi has also been booked under provisions of the Information Technology (IT) Act, according to the FIR.

The FIR, lodged only against Idrisi, mentions that social media giant Facebook “also did not make any efforts to fact-check this entire episode and let the misleading video circulate”.

Five accused — Kalloo Gurjar, Parvesh Gurjar, Adil, Intezaar and Saddam alias Bauna — have been arrested so far in connection with the attack on Saifi, Superintendent of Police (Ghaziabad Rural) Iraj Raja said on Wednesday.

The Ghaziabad police maintained that the incident took place because the accused were unhappy over the ‘tabeez’ (amulets) sold to them by Saifi.

The police also ruled out any communal angle in the episode.

In the video that triggered nation-wide reaction, Saifi purportedly says he was attacked by some young men and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ even as the district police said he did not make any such allegation in the FIR.

This FIR about the assault and illegal confinement was lodged on June 7, two days after the incident, on the complaint of Saifi, a resident of Anoopshahar in adjoining Bulandshahr district.