On February 14, several social media users claimed that a man named Sagar was lynched by 12 members of a Muslim family. It is being alleged that the man was murdered after a fight broke-out onboard a train when he requested a “burqa-clad” woman for her seat. Most posts claim that the media hasn’t reported the incident. Among those who propagated the claim was @RealHistoriPix tweeted (archive link), garnering close to 5,000 retweets.

It is noteworthy that @RealHistoriPix had tweeted (archive link) a Navbharat Times link, which drew over 1,000 retweets, despite claiming that no mainstream media outlets covered the incident. The report does not carry any details of a communal nature.

@KarunaGopal1 also tweeted (archive link) the claim, adding that out of the 12 people involved in the incident, seven were women. This was retweeted over 2,000 times before she took it down.

Similarly, several Twitter users promoted the claim.

Incident viral with false communal narrative

Alt News did a keyword search on Google and noted several media outlets had reported the incident including Navbharat Times, India Times, Catch News, Lokmat and NDTV. However, none of the reports mentions that a ‘burka-clad woman’ was involved in the brawl.

As per the report by NDTV, the incident took place in the general compartment of Mumbai-Latur-Bidar Express during the early hours of February 14. Sagar Markand was travelling with his wife Jyoti and two-year-old daughter. Superintendent of Police, Railways, Deepak Satore, informed NDTV that Sagar requested some women to offer his wife and daughter a place to sit.

The report added, “Apparently enraged over the request, the women started abusing him, leading to a huge spat and then at least a dozen others thrashed him, kicking and punching Sagar. Despite Jyoti’s pleas to stop, they continued beating him up for almost an hour until the train finally reached from Pune to the next halt at Daund. At Daund station, the Government Railway Police rushed Markand to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries later.” According to the report, Markand was beaten to death by at least 12 people, including six women.

While speaking with Alt News, SR Gaud, senior police inspector, Government Railway Police, Pune said, “I can confirm there is no communal angle to the incident. Out of twelve people involved in the death of the passenger, one was minor. Seven women and four men have been arrested in the incident.”

A Maharashtra Times report has identified the names of people involved in the incident – Tarabai Maruti Pawar, Jamuna Dutta Kale, Tai Hanumant Pawar, Kalawati Dhondiba Chavan, Gangubai Namdev Kale, Rupali Somnath Chavan, Nikita Ashok Kale, Hanumant Ganpat Pawar, Ashok Apa Kale, Sonu Appa Kale and Ganesh Shivaji Chavan.

On February 15, the official Account of Central Railway responded to @RealHistoriPix, “There were no two communities involved in this incident. It was a fallout of a tiff over seat-sharing in a compartment of the train. Refrain from giving a communal angle to it. Please do not spread unverified and fake news.” However, the tweet remains.

The claims on social media that people from the Muslim community were responsible for Sagar’s death is false. Moreover, the incident was widely covered in the media, unlike claimed on social media.

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