Several Twitter users have shared a clip of a man narrating an assault on him inside a train. The users have alleged that the man was beaten up by people from the Muslim community.

Sagar Kumar, a journalist at pro-BJP propaganda channel Sudarshan News, shared this clip and wrote, “Jihadis brutally assault a Hindu brother on a train.” This video gained close to one lakh views and around 5,000 retweets. (archived link)

Dainik Bhaskar journalist Rahul Sharma shared images of five Muslim men and claimed that they assaulted an ex-serviceman after the latter asked for a way of passage while they were offering namaz.

Social media head of UP BJP youth wing Richa Rajpoot shared the video and made the same claim.

Twitter user RituRathaur shared the same video and wrote, “Horror! Hindu man brutally beaten up by ‘shanti doots’ (an often used term mocking Muslims) for objecting to their reading Namaj thrice in moving train thus even obstructing way to bathrooms Security guard kept quiet and no one helped the Hindu man in a train to Vishakhapatnam Tyranny of fascist minority..” This tweet gained over 1,000 retweets.

Twitter user @its_vsr shared the viral video and wrote, “This community is another form of demons.”

Fact-Check

While listening to the man’s narration in the viral video, we found that the man says, “… In S4… on both sides (of the train bogey) there are five to six Muslims. Around 5:15 AM; 1:30 PM, and 5:15 PM they block the passage and offer namaz. I want to go to the washroom, and they denied me the passage multiple times. After they finished the namaz, I sat there and started offering prayers to my gods. When you offer namaz you don’t dare to stop it… now I’m starting my namaz. I did (prayers) for two, three minutes, and then two-three members from pantry car came and did this to me (pointing at his injuries)…” It is worth noting that the man does not blame Muslim men for the assault.

Alt News found that Times Now had reported on the incident which took place on Swarn Jayanti Express heading to Visakhapatnam from Hazrat Nizamuddin. A scuffle broke out between the pantry car staff and Vilas Naik, a retired soldier, at Madhya Pradesh’s Betul on November 20. The ex-soldier was admitted to a hospital for treatment.

In addition to inputs from Naik’s testimony from the viral video, Times Now inputs from Mujkir Ahmed, a passenger who was offering Namaz; and Harvesh Shrivas, the pantry car manager. Furthermore,Madhya Pradesh-based journalist Kashif Kakvi shared video statements of Ahmed, Shrivastava, and Betul Government Railway Police official. In the Free Press Journal report, the name of the GRP official is Narottam Singh Thakur.

In the video statement, Ahmed said, “When we were offering namaz, the man came and deliberately asked for passage through where we were praying. We requested him to wait for a few minutes or go from the other way. That side was clear. The man insisted on going through where we were praying…”

Ahmed told Times Now, “We were offering Namaz. The retired soldier deliberately objected to it by saying that he wanted to go to the toilet. After offering Namaz we all sat down in our seats. However, he started offering his prayers and even stopped a pantry staff member. After which the scuffle broke out.” Ahmed can also be heard saying the same in the video.

 

In the video, Shrivas, the pantry car manager, said, “… He (Naik) stopped our staff (from passing through the corridor)… our staff stood there for nearly half an hour. If they tried to pass through, he (Naik) would push them. So the staff came to me…”

The Times Now report added, “When the pantry car manager, Harvesh Shrivastava, tried to intervene, a scuffle broke out between him and the ex-soldier. Pantry car staff also started thrashing Naik. As per Shrivastava, the ex-soldier resorted to violence when he went to resolve the matter. The pantry car manager also alleged that he sustained an injury on his neck.” The video statement by Shrivastava covers these points.

 

Thakur, the GRP official, said, “A scuffle broke between pantry car staff and retired defense personnel. The latter sustained injuries on the nose, and he has been admitted to a hospital. We’ll take the FIR now against the pantry car staff. The conflict took over the way of passage. It seems the pantry car staff weren’t allowed to pass by the ex-serviceman.” When the reporter asked about Muslim men’s involvement, the official responded, “The Muslims were reading namaz on the side. They are not involved in this conflict.” Kakvi also uploaded Shrivastava’s statement in a tweet thread, which can be viewed below.

To sum it up, Vilas Naik, a retired soldier who was traveling to Visakhapatnam from Hazrat Nizamuddin on the Swarn Jayanti Express on November 20, got involved in a scuffle with the pantry car staff. Shortly after Naik’s clip went viral where he claimed that Muslim men blocked his passage while they were reading namaz. He, however, never claimed he was beaten up by Muslims. Subsequently, Sudarshan News and Dainik Bhaskar reporters shared that clip and falsely reported that Muslim men thrashed Naik.

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About the Author

He joined as an intern in 2019. Until June 2022, his work primarily focused on fact-checking. Now his primary responsibilities include catalysing all aspects of organisational growth — from fundraising to development of new projects at Alt News. He attended the Asian College of Journalism (2015-16) and The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (2012-2015). In past, he worked at The Hindu and Zee Media's WION.
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