Images of a Muslim cleric injured in an attempted robbery are being shared with a false claim that members of the Rashtrya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bajrang Dal tried to murder him.
BOOM spoke to the man in the photo identified as Maulana Abdul Mukim who said, it would be difficult to ascertain a communal angle as the attack was by only one person. The communal angle was also denied by Lucknow police who said the arrested accused suffers from a mental illness and had entered the Maulana’s house with an intent to rob.
The viral message misidentifies the cleric as Hafeez Adnan instead of his real name Abdul Mukim, a cleric at a mosque on Jail Road, Lucknow and credit a Chaudhary Salman Nadwi and Khan Usman Azmi for the false information.
Nadwi is the national president of All India Muslim Movement, a Lucknow based organisation and state executive member of the AIMIM. BOOM found the original posts on Nadwi and Azmi's Facebook pages, which identifies the cleric correctly but spins a communal tale behind the attack.
The same communal message is being widely shared on social media. The viral images are captioned, “The lowly, coward Sanghis and Bajrangis attacked Imam Hafeez Adnan, the cleric of a mosque on Jail Road, Lucknow, with a sword at 11 pm. The great Allah ensured he was safe".
(Original caption in Hindi : 11 बजे रात में लखनऊ में जेल रोड पर बनी मस्जिद के इमाम हाफ़िज़ अदनान साहब पर नीच, कायर संघियों-बजरंगियों ने तलवार से जानलेवा हमला किया
अल्लाह ताआला ने हिफ़ाज़त फ़रमाई। )
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Sanghis and Bajrangis refer to members of the RSS and Bajrang Dal respectively. In the images, the cleric can be seen wearing a blood smeared vest with bandages wrapped around his injured head and wrist.
BOOM contacted the cleric Abdul Mukim in Lucknow who is currently recovering from the injury and confirmed that it was him in the viral photos.
Mukim said, "It was only one man who attacked me but I could not see his face clearly. I tried to fight him off and sustained injuries." When asked if there was a communal reason behind the attack, he said, "It would be difficult to say that he had come with a communal intention."
We also spoke to Sher Bahadur Maurya, Inspector, Jail Road police chowki, who dismissed any communal angle to the incident. The Jail Road police have arrested a Suraj Prajapati for the incident.
"The accused had entered the maulana's room with an intention of stealing from him," said Maurya and added that the accused was "suffering from a mental illness"
We also found another video, where Mukim can be seen narrating the incident to the police. In the video, he says, that the incident happened between 11-11.15 pm and he was attacked with a sharp object.
The viral posts were earlier fact checked by The Quint.