A photo of a man roughing up a policeman has been shared on social media with a claim that the image is from Rajasthan and the suspect is a Muslim.

A tweet by @rose_k01 that received close to 4,000 likes was retweeted by pro-BJP propaganda outlet OpIndia’s CEO Rahul Roushan.

Another right-wing influencer with a verified account @vikrantkumar shared the image with a caption in Hindi stating, “If this is the situation at 18 per cent, what will happen at 30 per cent?”. The caption refers to the population of Muslims in India and attempts to arouse public fear if their number increases. This tweet has received over 4,000 retweets.

Right-wing YouTuber Abhishek Tiwary claimed that the suspect is Mazloom Ahmed from Karauli, Rajasthan. He also wrote that Ahmed is a former active member of the Popular Front of India (PFI).

Old image, false claim

Alt News carried out a reverse image search and found that the image is part of a report published in a newspaper. The report says that a head constable was roughed up by a hawker when he attempted to remove his cart. It also says that the incident took place in Jodhpur.

With a keyword search on Google, it was found that the news dates back to May 2016 and was also published by Dainik Bhasker. The policeman in the picture has been identified as head constable Shobharam. According to Dainik Bhasker, Jodhpur municipal corporation launched a special encroachment campaign with the aim to declare Ghantaghar as a “no jamming zone”. HC Shobharam reached Ghataghar with two other policemen to remove hawkers “obstructing” traffic but he was roughed up by a hawker who refused to move.

Alt News reached out to Jodhpur police, including Sadar Kotwali police station, the traffic control room and the police line to contact HC Shobharam. He is currently an assistant sub-inspector.

ASI Shobharam informed Alt News, “I was newly posted in the traffic branch in 2016 and went to Ghantaghar to remove encroachment by handcarts. A suspect identified as Dharmendra belonging to the Mali community became aggressive and misbehaved with me. We registered an FIR against Dharmendra and another suspect led by him. They were arrested by Sadar Kotwali police station.”

He also confirmed that the man in the image who held him by his chin is Dharmendra and clarified that both the suspects belonged to the same community.

ASI Shobharam was posted in Jodhpur police’s traffic branch from 2016 to 2020. He is currently posted in the police lines of Jodhpur police.

To sum it up, neither the suspect seen in the picture is a Muslim nor did the incident take place under the incumbent Congress government’s rule in Rajasthan. The incident dates back to 2016 when BJP’s Vasundhara Raje was the chief minister of the state. An old newspaper clipping is being shared with a false, anti-Muslim claim.

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Fact-checking journalist