The Delhi police has registered an FIR against unknown persons a day after inflammatory anti-Muslim slogans were raised at a protest meet against 'Colonial-era laws' held at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi on August 8.
"We've registered FIR and we're carrying out further investigation. Necessary action will be taken," wire agency ANI reported quoting DCP New Delhi Deepak Yadav.
Turn of events
On August 8, 2021 an event under the name of 'Bharat Jodo Aandolan' was organised at Delhi's Jantar Mantar by the Save India Foundation. One of the key speakers at the event was Supreme Court lawyer and former Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay. Television actor and BJP leader Gajendra Chauhan was also present.
While a huge crowd had turned up at Jantar Mantar on the morning of August 8, the Delhi Police in a press statement said that the 'people who had gathered there had no permission'.
Later, videos from the event showing people chanting inflammatory anti-Muslim slogans went viral on social media. In one of the videos a group of people can be seen heckling a reporter of YouTube Channel National Dastak and forcing him to chant 'Jai Shri Ram'. Another video shows a group of men chanting 'Hindustan Me Rehna Hoga toh Jai Shri Ram kehna hoga' (If you want to live in India, you will have to chant jai Shri Ram)'
BOOM watched the Facebook live of the event and also spoke to several people concerned with the August 8 rally. Here's what we know so far.
On the anniversary of the Quit India movement, Save India Foundation had called for a 'Bharat Jodo' movement at Delhi's Jantar Mantar on August 8. The event was attended by people in hundreds. The Delhi Police has meanwhile denied giving the organisers permission for the event.
The organisers had demanded for an end to the 'colonial-era laws' by setting up a Uniform Civil Code. An hour-long Facebook live of the event has been shared on the verified Facebook page of Ashwini Upadhyay, one of the main speakers at the event.
BOOM watched the video and found that there were no inflammatory sloganeering while the event was in progress.
However, we came across at least two videos where group of men can be seen raising communally charged anti-Muslim slogans, and heckling a reporter forcing him to chant Jai Shri Ram.
BOOM contacted Ashwini Upadhyay on Monday. Upadhyay told us that the event at which he was speaking was over by around 12.30 pm. "The sloganeering happened at around 4.30 pm. By the time my speech got over, it had started to rain. We left the place after that. I think the videos that are viral on social media are from evening...around 4.30 pm," Upadhyay told BOOM.
He also added that he has given a written complaint to the Delhi police to verify the truth of the videos and and take strict action against the perpetrators.
Upadhyay also shared the complaint on his Facebook page.
In his complaint, Upadhyay has asked the Delhi Police to verify the video and the time of recording it. He has demanded strict action against those seen in the video as well as those who have linked his name with the viral videos.
BOOM also spoke to Preet Singh, one of the founder members of Save India Foundation which had organised the event. Speaking to BOOM, Singh said, "Bharat Bachaao Andolan was held to free India from the colonial-era laws. Ashwini Upadhyay was a speaker at the event."
He further added that the event was wrapped up by around 12. "When police told us to leave, we got down from the dais. We had applied for permission to hold the event but the cops denied us permission a day before the event. Since we had been canvassing for over a year and several people had turned up on August 8, it was not possible to call off the event," Singh said.
"If there was any wrong sloganeering, the administration should have stopped them. That is the administration's responsibility. These are kids, they do commit mistakes. All kids commit mistakes, right. If their (Muslim) kids commit a mistake, so do ours. They should be forgiven," Singh said.
Reporter who was heckled
One of the videos from Jantar Mantar that's quite viral on social media now shows a man being forced to chant Jai Shri Ram by a group of people. The person in the video has been identified as Anmol Pritam, a reporter of YouTube channel National Dastak.
BOOM spoke to Anmol Pritam about the incident. Anmol told BOOM that he had reached Jantar Mantar after Ashwini Upadhyay had left the venue. "My cameraman had recorded videos showing men raising slogans. After watching the videos I decided to question people regarding this, he said.
"When I asked people about privatisation, farmers protest and employment, then people called me 'jihadi' and 'anti-national', and surrounded me. They manhandled me too."
Anmol added that hundreds of people had stayed behind at the venue after the organisers had left the place.
The reporter had shared a video of the incident from his Twitter handle.
Another video from Jantar Mantar that is quite viral on Twitter shows a group of men raising anti-Muslim slogans. One of the persons has been identified as Uttam Maalik in the tweet.
What does the police say?
Delhi police has registered an FIR against unknown persons based on the videos coming from Jantar Mantar.
An Indian Express report quoting a senior police from New Delhi district said that the Delhi police had denied the organisers permission to hold the event.
"Police arrangements were in place and we thought around 50 people would come, but suddenly many people in small groups started gathering. They were protesting peacefully, but started raising slogans when they were dispersing," the Express report quoted an official of Delhi police.