[Warning: The video shows violence and may be distressing for some readers.]
A gruesome video is being circulated on social media with the claim that a young Muslim labourer was beaten mercilessly after refusing to chant Hindu slogans. “A Muslim youth returning from work was forced to chant religious slogans by a group of nine to 10 anti-social elements in Neemuch city last night at 11:00 PM. Anwar sustained serious injuries at the hands of Deepu Rawat and his associates. He cannot see from one of his eyes and has fractures on his arms and legs. The police took one individual to the station but eventually let him go. There has been no further action. There is no one to speak up on behalf of Anwar. He has two young children. His wife is miserable with grief while the perpetrators continue to roam free,” reads the complete message.
Twitter user Zafar Ahmed posted the clip with this claim. (Archive link)
कल रात 11:00 बजे नीमच सिटी के अंदर असामाजिक तत्वों द्वारा एक मुस्लिम युवक जो मजदूरी करके लौट रहा था उसको जबरदस्ती नौ दस लोगों द्वारा धर्म विशेष के नारे लगाने के लिए मजबूर किया गया नारे नहीं लगाने पर दीपू रावत और उसके साथियों द्वारा कटवा कहकर मारपीट की गई pic.twitter.com/D3nK6yKTBs
— Zafar Ahmad (@ZafarAh88134716) March 18, 2021
News website Zamana TV published a story on the incident purely on the basis of viral claims suggesting a communal motive.
The iP NEWS HINDI YouTube channel further amplified the communal angle.
Congress leader Digvijay Singh shared the video alleging that it depicts violence against Dalits. His post drew 23,000 likes.
The claim that the incident was caste-based violence has also been promoted by others.
An absolute brutal show of caste power over Dalits in PM Modi’s India and Chauhan’s Madhya Pradesh. The boy was beaten until he turned entirely silent. Hindutva India is all about regeneration of Caste India, which Dr. Ambedkar refused long before. Shameful show#DalitLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/w15lOHQ7uP
— Goldy M George (@goldymgeorge) March 26, 2021
What incident does the video represent?
Alt News reached out to several local journalists and social activists to gather more information about the video. Student activist Arjun Mehar revealed that the language used by the people in the video resembles eastern Rajasthan dialect. He posted a tweet to ask if anyone can provide further details, to which a user responded with screenshots of two Facebook accounts belonging to Nagraj Sattavan and Keshav Pareeta.
इस विडियो की सत्यता जाँचने के लिए @AltNews के एक साथी ने अभी मुझसे सम्पर्क किया था क्योंकि प्रशासन के पास कोई जानकारी नहीं है..! यह विडियो 100% पूर्वी राजस्थान का है..! यहाँ के युवाओं को एक शौक़ लगा है गैंग बनाने का और आपसी गैंगवार में पिटाई करके विडियो डालने का.! pic.twitter.com/7Ors2vmKs6
— Arjun Mehar ☭ | अर्जुन महर ☭ (@Arjun_Mehar) April 6, 2021
The viral video was shared from both accounts on January 14 and 15.
We also found a separate clip that Nagraj Sattavan had uploaded on January 4, with the title ‘Part-1’ where Sattavan is seen forcing another young man named Raja Maddy into a car and beating him. At one point, he is forcing him to lick a shoe at gunpoint. Another user also uploaded this video on YouTube.
राजा मैडी चोर part 1- जूते चाटता हुआ
Raja Maidi chor chor chor
Wait for next part 2
Posted by Nagraj Sattavan on Sunday, January 3, 2021
One of the comments on the video read, “Nagraj brother, what he did to you was wrong, what you guys are doing to him is also wrong. Two Meenas fighting against each other is wrong.”
A subsequent YouTube search to find Nagraj’s side of the story took us to a video titled, “राजा मेडी ने लिया बदला।। लाइव देखो। फूटा गुस्सा” (Raja Medi took revenge. Watch live. He took out his anger), where a group of young men are beating Nagraj mercilessly.
We found another video on YouTube reporting the arrest of Nagraj Meena by Rajasthan’s Gangapur city police. Nagraj is a wanted criminal in an alleged murder case. In the clip, the police say that Nagraj is a notorious criminal who has murder, kidnapping and serious assault cases registered against him. There are a total of nine cases lodged against Nagraj. The police had also put out an Rs. 2,000 bounty on his head.
After speaking to a local journalist, we found that there was no communal or caste-based angle to the incident. Both parties hailed from the same community and personal rivalry led to the incident.
Wazirpur police station also confirmed to Alt News that there was no communal or caste-based motive. The case has been ongoing since 2020 and Nagraj Meena, Nehru Meena, Sumer Meena and Dilkhush have been arrested. They are currently behind bars.
What is the case from Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh?
The claim accompanying the viral video is actually about a separate incident that occurred in Neemuch. A man named Anwar Khan was assaulted by a group of 8 to 10 people under the influence of alcohol. Khan had filed a complaint with Neemuch city superintendent of police, following which four accused were arrested under IPC Sections 341, 323, 294 and 506.
Alt News also reached out to Kanhaiya Lal, the investigating officer in the Anwar Khan case. He said that the incident took place on March 11. Perpetrators Meena, Chiku and a few others were arrested and there was no communal angle at play. This too was sparked by personal rivalry.
Neemuch city SP also rubbished the viral claim shared with the video.
An old video of a group of men beating another in Rajasthan due to a personal rivalry was linked to a recent case where Anwar Khan was thrashed in Madhya Pradesh’s Neemuch. The police informed that both cases did not have communal or caste-based angles.