A few days ago, pictures of a lone Hindu priest being thrashed on the ground of a temple with puja material scattered all around on the evening before Ram Navami surfaced on Twitter and went viral in minutes, creating huge outrage. The images showed the dhoti-clad pujari lying on the ground with a police man pinning him down with a lathi (stick). Two policemen seen in the pictures were wearing shoes within the temple premises and had desecrated the worship altar and puja material, clearly disrespecting Hindu religious sentiments.
On April 3rd, Pooja Chaudhuri of propagandist ‘fact-checking’ site Alt News did a “Fact Check” on the incident, and in the process of whitewashing the incident accused Vijay Shankar Tiwary, Spokesperson of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, of spreading ‘misinformation’ through the below mentioned tweet.
कहा जा रहा है कि रीवा में मंदिर के पुजारी को शयन आरती करते समय पुलिस ने पीटा तथा पूजा का सामान बिखेर दिया,यहां के एस पी आबिद खान हैं,दोषी पुलिस वाले को तत्काल दण्डित किया जाए। pic.twitter.com/a6UKpV5Ppr
— Vijay Shankar Tiwari (@VijayVst0502) April 3, 2020
In her opening paragraph, Ms. Chaudhury states, “A photograph of a policeman pinning down a Hindu priest has been widely shared by several prominent social media users. National spokesperson of Vishva Hindu Parishad, Vijay Shankar Tiwari, claimed that the cop was Superintendent of Police (SP) of Madhya Pradesh’s Rewa district, Abid Khan.”
We forgive the Atl News “fact-checker’s” poor grasp of the Hindi language. Nowhere in the said tweet does the VHP spokesperson assert that the policeman beating the pujari is SP Abid Khan. Those who share Ms. Chaudhury’s linguistic limitations may want to be apprised that the tweet translates to, “It is being alleged that police have manhandled the priest of a Rewa temple during evening prayers and scattered pooja articles, the SP of this area is Abid Khan, the guilty policeman must be penalized.”
In their desperate attempt to generate a false narrative of Muslim victimhood (yes, even when a Hindu is victimised, our left-liberals can invent a Muslim victimhood angle), Alt News decided to mis-represent more tweets like this one by Sudarshan News which again states similar facts as listed by Vijay Shankar Tiwari of VHP.
मध्यप्रदेश रीवा के मन्दिर में अकेले पूजा कर रहे पुजारी को बेरहमी से मारा.
पैरों से फेंक दिया गया जल और बूटों से कुचला पूजा स्थल.
— Sudarshan News (@SudarshanNewsTV) April 2, 2020
Here, Alt News latched on to the claim that ‘pujari was praying alone in the temple’ – they referred to local news reports that said a group of around 50 devotees, including many women had gathered at the temple. While that may very well be true, the report also adds that a heavy police force reached the spot and easily dispersed the crowd without any resistance. They then proceeded to brutally thrash the pujari, who is clearly alone in the temple during the assault. Further, the desecration of the temple and puja material was clearly unwarranted and offensive.
There have been isolated instances of police forcefully clearing mosques during this lockdown too – but no where did the police enter and desecrate the premises or show such brutality towards an imam/maulvi. On the contrary, in most cases, police have been at the receiving end of brutal assaults by the namazis. The state apparatus has in fact gone around appealing maulvis with folded hands to assist in enforcing social distancing norms, despite veiled threats and open defiance by the maulvi ‘sahebs’ being addressed.
Incidentally, the INC official handle has also tweeted the exact same thing about a solitary pujari being thrashed and the temple desecrated – but this has been ignored by the Hindu-baiting Alt News, for ‘secular’ reasons.
रामनवमी के दिन एक अकेले पंडित पर हमला करवाकर आपकी सरकार कौन सा संदेश देना चाहती है..?
जब सरकार पूजा की थाली, मंदिर का कलश, आरती का दिया और भगवान के फूल पर डंडा चलाने लगे तो समझ लो कि सरकार और शासक का अस्त नज़दीक है।
ये अहंकार जनता बर्दाश्त नहीं करेगी। pic.twitter.com/yXKcUNEY27
— MP Congress (@INCMP) April 3, 2020
That a temple priest was indeed manhandled by Rewa Police is but the truth, and so is the fact that the SP of this area is Abid Khan and it is not unjustified to mention his name solely because he is a Muslim. None of the above tweets identified the policeman hitting the priest to be Abid Khan.
We fail to understand Alt News’ desperation to dissect the case and then exculpate Mr. Khan when no one was even accusing him of directly assaulting the pujari. All people were demanding was that, as the senior police officer in charge of the area, he should ensure that strict action is taken against whichever policeman under his command committed the brutality.
But trust propagandist ‘fact-checkers’ like Alt News to sidestep the real issue – brutal treatment of a Hindu pujari, unlike anything the state would dare to do with a Muslim or Christian cleric – and invent a ‘secular’ victim, SP Abid Khan.
Now, MP government has issued a communique that the policeman who assaulted the pujari was SHO Rajkumar Mishra, who arrived with his team after receiving information about the temple gathering in violation of lockdown. Mishra has been disciplined for the inappropriate action and a new SHO has been posted in his place.
However, being the SP of the area, Abid Khan, though not guilty does bear some responsibility for the transgression in behaviour displayed by lathi-wielding police officers within his jurisdiction. His Muslim identity doesn’t absolve him from his duties and responsibilities as a man on government duty.
This incident again exposes the double standards of the secular state and its left-liberal cheerleaders – while Tablighi Jamaatis, who had gathered in thousands flouting lockdown norms, dispersed and merged with citizens disobeying medical advisories, spat on police and medical officials, and sexually harassed nurses, are being handled with kid gloves, where does a policeman get the audacity to strike a Hindu priest begging to be allowed to merely perform aarti on an important festival day?
Did you find this article useful? We’re a non-profit. Make a donation and help pay for our journalism.