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No, an ice-cream vendor was not thrashed for refusing to chant Jai Shri Ram in Uttar Pradesh

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Rumour

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". According to social media posts, his name is Rakesh and he was thrashed because crowd thought he is a Muslim since he refused to say "Jai Shri Ram".

A Facebook page "Politics Behind The Scene" shared the picture with a caption "An Ice-cream seller Rakesh was beaten up in Gangaghat, Kotwali, by Bhagwa goons who mistook him as a Muslim because he refused to chant Jai Shri Ram." (Roughly translated from Hindi).

The post has 150 shares and 245 likes till now.

The same picture has been shared many many Twitter users with an exact same claim. You can see all such tweets here.

Our Investigation

The viral picture has a phone number written on the top of the kiosk as highlighted by red.

We called the given number and found that it belongs out to Dhiren Yadav, the owner of King’s Ice cream, a local ice-cream brand. He said that the image has been viral in local UP WhatsApp groups for the past one week. The ice-cream seller who was beaten up is not Rakesh but Harishankar Verma, a resident of Shuklaganj, Unnao district in Uttar Pradesh.

He was not asked to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’. He was beaten up by a local goon after an altercation between them but the matter was solved later. He said that they knew each other.

His son said, "My father was returning from his daily business when some local goons roughed him up and beat him up. I wanted to share the incident through WhatsApp and make people aware of the lawlessness prevalent in Gangaghat. However, someone stole the image and changed the incident completely. I have been since then getting calls from a lot of people. And I would like to clarify that I never said that my father was asked to chant Jai Shri Ram".

He also said that before they could file an FIR, the man approached them and apologized and was ready to pay for the medical cost.

No, FIR was registered in this case.

Fact

The claim that an ice-cream vendor was beaten for refusing to chant Jai Shri Ram is false. The ice-cream seller was thrashed by a local goon after an altercation. The personal fight was resolved after the goon agreed to pay the medical bill and apologized for his actions.

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