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Jai Shri Ram slogan has become a war-cry: fake cases have amplified the perception of religious intolerance

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There have been some incidents where members of the minority community have been cornered and forced to say "Jai Shri Ram" but multiple fake cases have only amplified the perception that Jai Shri Ram slogan has become a war-cry. We have discussed such fake cases in this post.

Shaikh Aamer, a delivery man for a food delivery app was going on a motorcycle with a friend to collect a takeaway from a restaurant on Jalgaon Road, Aurangabad when few men after asking their names allegedly told them to chant “Jai Shri Ram”. When Shaikh and his friend refused, the suspects threatened them with dire consequences. They were let off only after chanting the slogan. The incident was caught on a CCTV camera. Four engineering students were arrested in this case.

Incidents of members of the minority community being cornered and forced to say "Jai Shri Ram" has been reported from various parts of the country in the last few months. These incidents made 49 celebrities to sign a letter to the prime minister Modi expressing regret that 'Jai Shree Ram' has become a war cry today. The name includes several film directors and actors such as Adoor Gopalkrishnan, Mani Ratnam, Anurag Kashyap, Aparna Sen, Konkona Sen Sharma, Soumita Chatterjee.

Coming back to Shaikh Aamer story, barely a day after filing a complaint that some people had forced him to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’, Aamer went back on his statement and conceded that he fabricated the story of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan being enforced upon him to raise his stature among his community members and teach those who dare to challenge people from his community a lesson.

This is not an isolated incident where the allegation has turned out to be false. We will have a look into several such incidents in this article.

Case 1: Eyewitnesses refute the allegation that Imran Ismail Patel was forced to chant Jai Shri Ram in Aurangabad

Last week, Imran Ismail Patel, a hotel employee, said in his complaint that a gang of around 10 hooligans stopped him near Hudco Corner in Begumpura area when he was returning home on a motorbike. They beat him up and forced him to say "Jai Shri Ram".

However, the eye-witnesses who came to the victim's rescue have denied that he was forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’. Instead, they have asserted that the incident was a result of a personal feud.

Police inspector Madhukar Sawant said the investigation was underway and the complaint was being verified. It is important to mention this victim's allegation may not be proved or disproved due to lack of evidence.

The was this case was discussed in social media and the amount of media coverage it got which Shaikh Aamer to fabricate the Jai Shri Ram story a few days later in the same district.

The victim's or eyewitness' statements should not be accepted on the face value. These are just statements and may not reflect the truth. 

Case 2: A fight over cricket was given communal color in Unnao

Earlier this month, a report went viral on social media that a group of Madrassa students was brutally attacked in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh and were allegedly forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’, and beaten up with a cricket bat and their kurtas were torn. Ravish Kumar covered this incident in his prime time show on NDTV. 

Naeem Misbahi, Maulana of Jama Masjid, Unnao also supported the claim and said that attackers belonged to Bajrang Dal.

However, after an investigation, Police denied the claim that the Children were beaten up for refusing to say "Jai Shri Ram". IG Law and Order, Pravin Kumar said there was a dispute between two sides over playing cricket. "The local police took effective action on the issue. No religious slogans were raised. Some people are trying to give it a communal color to promote conspiracy. Police will take strict action against it,".

ADG Law and Order, PV Ramashastri said that some anarchist people were attempting to flare up communal tension." 

Unnao Police had issued a press release to inform that according to CCTV footage & probe, those named in FIR weren't there at the spot. Madrasa students had an argument with one of the 4 people in the other group which led to a clash.

In this case, apart from the victim's statement, there is no other proof to support the claim that they were indeed thrashed for refusing to chant Jai Shri Ram.

Case 3: A Muslim auto driver was not beaten for refusing to chant "Jai Shri Ram": Media gave a communal spin to the incident

On July 4, several media houses like The telegraph, Caravan Daily and News central published a report claiming that a Muslim auto driver was beaten for refusing to chant Jai Shri Ram in Kanpur.

Saba Naqvi tweeted, "Another day in the life of the nation....#Muslim #JaiShriRam Auto Driver Tied Up, Thrashed for Refusing to Chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ in UP".

However, the victim Mohammad Atib had himself denied that he has been beaten for not chanting 'Jai Shri Ram'. He said that he was beaten because he had refused an auto ride to three people who were intoxicated. He made it clear that he was not beaten for chanting  "Jai Shri Ram".

You can watch his video here.

Case 4: Imam in Bhagpat was not thrashed for refusing to chant Jai Shri Ram

Earlier this month, news platforms like the Indian Express and Scroll published an article claiming that 12 people were booked for forcing an Imam ( a person who leads prayers in a mosque ) to chant “Jai Shri Ram”.  It was reported that the Imam was forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and his beard was also pulled. 

However, the Superintendent of the Baghpat police station confirmed that none of these narratives are true and the actual reason for the assault was a ‘petty fight’ among the Imam and some men. Imam had added the religious color in order for his case to be taken seriously.

Case 5: Mohammad Momin Case in Rohini, Delhi

A man named Mohammad Momin was injured after he was allegedly hit by a car in Rohini Sector 20 on 20th June. He had claimed that some people sitting inside the car asked him to chant 'Jai Shree Ram'. When he refused they verbally abused him and hit him with the car which caused the injuries.

However, police said that the accounts given by some eyewitnesses of the incident do not substantiate the claims made by the victim that he was hit for refusing to chant "Jai Shri Ram". 

Case 6: Youth thrashed for harassing a girl in Hyderabad was given a communal spin on social media

Last month, a piece of news went viral on social media that a Muslim youth was beaten very badly by BJP and RSS workers in Karimnagar for not chanting Jai Shree Ram.

However, the Commissioner of Police VB Kamalasan Reddy responded by tweeting a video in which the boy who was attacked by a mob was seen saying that he was beaten up over personal issues and it was not a communal incident. He says it is a matter of love story. The boy has allegedly been harassing a teenage girl over the last few days.

Case 7: Gurugram case 

This was the much-debated case of religious hate crime where the victim claimed that he was thrashed for wearing a skull cap. He also claimed that he was forced to chant slogans like Bharat Mata Ki Jai and Jai Shri Ram.

The wire covered the incident with a headline "Muslim Man Beaten, Forced to Chant 'Jai Shri Ram' for Wearing Skull Cap in Gurugram".

NDTV quoted the victim, "They Tore My Kurta, Told Me To Say "Jai Shri Ram".

However, the police investigation in the case revealed that the Muslim youth Mohammed Barkat Ali was assaulted but neither his skull was thrown nor his shirt was torn by the accused.

As per CCTV footage, the incident took place in over a minute. Since CCTV footage doesn't provide audio, it is difficult to say what was being spoken during one and half minutes incident.

Even in this case, there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that he was forced to chant the slogans apart from victims' statement which is again not consistent.

Case 8: Muslim Man Beaten And Forced To Chant Jai Shri Ram In Bengal By Another Muslim Man

A video went viral on social media in which a Muslim man was forced to do sit-ups, while holding his ears, and to chant “Jai Shree Ram”. Once he chanted the slogan, he was slapped by the perpetrator.

However, the probe in the case revealed that the perpetrator is a Muslim himself. The perpetrator Apsi Miyan (a Muslim man) had beaten up and tortured the Muslim man, Asgar Ali, and Utpal Das. After the video went viral, Apsi Miyan was arrested and produced in a local Cooch Behar’s Tufanganj court. The incident happened in Coochbehar district of West Bengal. 

Several other small scale rumors on social media

Apart from these major cases, there have been several small scale social media rumors where different images and videos were used out of context to claim that Muslim/Dalit man was beaten for refusing to chant Jai Shri Ram.

Earlier this month, a picture of an injured ice-cream seller is going viral on social media with a claim that he was beaten for refusing to chant "Jai Shri Ram". However, it turned out that it was a personal altercation between the ice-cream seller and a local goon which was resolved after the goon agreed to pay the medical bill and apologized for his actions.

Twitter celebrities like Zainab Sikander tweeted an old and unverified video to claim that a Muslim man was beaten for refusing to chant Jai Shri Ram.

Real Incidents

We have highlighted three cases (Aurangabad, Bhagpat, and Hyderabad) where victims have fabricated the story, two cases (Aurangabad and Rohini) where eye-witnesses refute the allegation, two cases(Unnao and Gurugram) where no conclusive evidence is available to support victim's claim and police's version differs from the victim's account, one case where media gave communal spin (Kanpur Auto-driver's case) and one case in which perpetrator was a Muslim himself.

However, it is equally true that some cases have indeed been reported where victims were forced to chant the religious slogan and video of the incident is available.

In Rajasthan, a Muslim man was beaten for refusing to say Jai Shri Ram in Feb 2018. It was reported by India Today.

On June 22, a 26-year-old madrasa teacher in West Bengal named Hafeez Mohd Shahrukh Haldar claimed that he was beaten up and pushed off a moving train when a group demanded he chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and he refused. However, Cops also received a counter-complaint in the case — filed by a man who was part of a group coming to attend a Hindu Samhati rally in Kolkata — that alleges he and others were beaten up by a group of Muslim youths on the same train.

Last month, media houses reported that a cab driver was beaten in Mumbai for refusing to chant Jai Shri Ram. But if we go deeper in this case, the victim has himself claimed that he got into a quarrel with four or five men, who were in an inebriated state, and they beat him up. In the middle of the quarrel, when the accused realized that he was a Muslim, they asked him to say ''Jai Shri Ram''.

Tabrez Ansari's alleged lynching: Not a religiously-motivated hate crime

Tabrez Ansari was beaten up by a mob on the suspicion of theft on 17 June in Jharkhand. His family alleges that a mob thrashed him and forced him to say "Jai Shri Ram" and "Jai Hanuman" before handing him over to the police the next day. Reportedly, the beating left him unconscious. Four days later, on 22 June, he breathed his last at Saraikela Karsawan civil hospital, where he was being treated under judicial remand. Video of his beating is going viral on social media in which a few people can be heard asking him to chant "Jai Shri Ram".

Several media houses and activists have called it a hate crime. But we at Fact Hunt believe that it will be unfair to put this incident in the category of hate crime and we have a genuine reason for it.

We will list down some of the cases when thieves were thrashed by Mob.

  1. Last year, a 27-year-old tribal youth, Madhu was beaten to death on allegations of theft. 
  2. A few days back, Mohd Sameer was beaten inside a mosque by a fellow Muslims in UP's Hapur on suspicion of mobile theft.
  3. A few weeks back, a suspected thief beaten to death by shop-owner as reported by IANS.
  4. In 2011, a thief was beaten to death by villagers in Mahaboobnagar, Telangana.

All these cases clearly show that mob hardly cares about the religion of the thief. In Tabrez's case, some people did ask him to chant Jai Shri Ram but that was not the primary reason. He was thrashed because he was caught on the suspicion of theft which is certainly wrong but this has always been the trend.

There have been some incidents where members of the minority community have been cornered and forced to say "Jai Shri Ram" but multiple fake cases have only amplified the perception that Jai Shri Ram slogan has become a war-cry. Considering the media coverage such incidents have got, people from the minority community are now faking it to get the attention.



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