शुरू हो गया वो सब कुछ जिसका डर था. #up की एक #मस्जिद से आया फरमान – “टुकड़े टुकड़े में काटना है @Uppolice वालों को” (Everything we were afraid of has started. #up A decree came from a #mosque – cut them @uppolice into pieces- translated) tweeted Suresh Chavhanke, the editor-in-chief of Sudarshan News Channel with an article titled exactly the same, which claims that a decree against the UP Police has been passed by a mosque in Uttar Pradesh.. The tweet had accumulated more than 1300 shares and 1900 likes at the time of writing.

On May 6, 2018, a body of a youth named Shakib was recovered from a drain near Nehru road. On the basis of the post-mortem report, police concluded that he had died due to drowning. Anis, Shakib’s father was dissatisfied with the police investigation and on July 20, 2018, he had reportedly threatened the Circle Officer with ‘chopping him to pieces’ if justice is not served.

What Sudarshan News reported

On the basis of this incident, an inflammatory article published by Sudarshan News linked to the tweet stated, “सीरिया और ईराक में ही ये हालात देखने को मिलते थे जहाँ पुलिस वालों को चौराहों पर खड़ा कर के या तो उनको गोली मारी जाती थी या उनकी गर्दनो को काट दिया जाता था .. लेकिन अब ठीक वही धमकियां और उसी प्रकार से हमलो का फरमान उत्तर प्रदेश में भी जारी हुआ है (These conditions were only seen in Syria and Iraq, where police was either shot or their throats were slit at the city square. But now similar threats of assault are also issued in Uttar Pradesh -translated)

It further reads, “उत्तर प्रदेश के बागपत जिले में एक मस्जिद में हुई मुस्लिमों की पंचायत में खुला फरमान आया है उत्तर प्रदेश पुलिस के जांबाजो की हत्या का” (In Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat district, an open decree was passed by a panchayat of Muslims inside a mosque for murder of brave policemen of Uttar Pradesh -translated). “वहां मौजूद उन्मादियो के भाषण को देख कर ऐसा लग रहा था जैसे कि वो योगीराज के बजाय तालिबानियों की कोई बैठक हो और उसकी अध्यक्षता कोई दुर्दांत आतंकी कर रहा हो.” (Seeing the speeches of fanatics present there, it seemed as if it was a meeting of Talibanis and not Yogiraj and some dreadful terrorist was presiding over it -translated)

The article goes on to say, “समाज के रक्षक खाकी वर्दी वालों के नरसंहार के एलान के बाद हिन्दू समाज में भी ऐसे कट्टरपंथ के खिलाफ रोष फ़ैल गया”(After the announcement of the massacre of our protectors in khaki uniforms, there is anger in Hindu society against such fanatics -translated).

The article then concludes by stating, “जिस प्रकार से कश्मीर में अक्सर शुक्रवार को जुमे की नमाज़ के बाद उपद्रव होता है वैसे ही यहाँ भी शुक्रवार को जुमें की नमाज़ के बाद मुस्लिम समुदाय के लोग पंचायत कर रहे थे। पंचायत में पुलिस के खिलाफ जमकर जहर उगला जा रहा था और चेतावनी भी दी जा रही थी(Just like in Kashmir where there is often a riot after Friday prayers, similarly on Friday, after the prayers of Jumu’ah, people of the Muslim community held a panchayat. Poison was infused against the police and they were also warned -translated)

What actually happened

An article published by Dainik Jagran stated, “इंसाफ नहीं मिलने पर पुलिस क्षेत्राधिकारी के टुकड़े-टुकड़े करने की धमकी सर्व समाज की पंचायत में पीडि़त के पिता अनीस ने दी, जबकि यहां सिपाही से लेकर इंस्पेक्टर तक मौजूद थे। बता दें कि छह मई को नेहरू रोड पर नाले से शाकिब का शव बरामद हुआ था। पुलिस ने पोस्टमार्टम के बाद दावा किया था कि शाकिब की नाले में गिरने और डूबने से मौत हुई है, जबकि उसके पिता अनीस का आरोप है कि शाकिब की कई लोगों ने मिलकर हत्या कर शव नाले में फेंक दिया। (At the Panchayat, in presence of police personnel from the rank of sepoy to inspector, the father of the victim, Anees threatened to chop the police officer-in-charge into pieces on not receiving justice. It may be known that on May 6, Anees’s son, Shakib’s body was recovered from the drain on Nehru Road. After the post-mortem, police had claimed that Shakib had died due to falling and drowning in the drain, while his father Anees alleged that a group of men had killed Shakib and thrown his corpse in the drain- translated). It further stated that on the microphone, Anees said that the cause of his son’s death wasn’t a fall into the drain but that six people had killed him under a conspiracy. Believing the ‘witnesses’, Anees had threatened the Circle Officer and said that if justice is not ensured, then he will chop him to pieces.

Moreover, the official handle of Baghpat Police had tweeted a video explaining the incident of a public threat given to the Circle officer, Baghpat police.

Chavhanke turns a deaf ear

The official handle of Baghpat police responded with the facts about the threat given to the Circle officer to which the Sudarshan News editor-in-chief Suresh Chavhanke has neither apologized nor retracted the article published by the website yet.

In a conversation with Alt News, SP Jai Prakash of Baghpat police has rubbished the claim of a threat of massacre of the police force issued by a mosque stating, “It was an act of sudden provocation. The accused has been arrested and produced before the court. In a statement given to the police, the accused has confessed of having lost his cool.

It is not unusual for communal tendencies to permeate the social media ecosystem, but this brazen attempt by a news channel to fan the flames of communalism is disconcerting at the very least. While it is true that a threat had been issued to the concerned officer by the deceased’s father, the subsequent clarification by the police ought to have set the record straight. Instead, the article published by Sudharshan News was provocative and inciteful, seeking to exacerbate the communal divide.

About the Author

Jignesh is a writer and researcher at Alt News. He has a knack for visual investigation with a major interest in fact-checking videos and images. He has completed his Masters in Journalism from Gujarat University.