The attack on a seer in Hoshiarpur, Punjab, is being given a communal and political twist on social media. A video of the monk, identified as Swami Pushpendra Swaroop, receiving treatment at a hospital in Hoshiarpur has been shared on Facebook with a Hindi caption claiming that Muslims had led the 'Palghar-style' attack.
BOOM contacted Hoshiarpur police who told us that the incident was a case of robbery and the attackers are yet to be nabbed. The cop also denied any communal angle. Furthermore, the monk, in a recorded message, has denied any political angle in the attack.
Recently, three people, including a 70-year old monk, were lynched in Palghar, Maharashtra on suspicions of being child kidnappers and thieves. Whatsapp messages claiming child kidnappers and thieves were on the prowl in various villages in Palghar were doing the rounds among local residents days before the lynching of the trio, including two Hindu seers. Soon after disturbing videos of the attack emerged, a section of the social media users tried to give a communal turn to the attack.
The 2-minute-long clip shows a man clad in saffron robe being treated for injuries. In between, he narrates the incident to the hospital staff. A Hindi caption with the video reads 'Taking cue from Palghar, now seer Pushpendra Swaroop attacked by Muslims in Punjab's Hoshiarpur. Why are the saints being killed only in Congress-ruled states?'
(Hindi: पालघर की तर्ज पर पंजाब के होशियार पुर में संत पुष्पेंद्र स्वरूप जी महाराज पर शांतिदूतों ने हमला किया है, जब वो घर पर बेटे के साथ थे!! आखिर ये साधु संत की हत्या कांग्रेस शासित राज्यो में ही क्यों हो रही है.?)
Watch the video below and access its archived version here.
The video has been shared with the same false claim from several Facebook profiles.
पालघर की तर्ज पर पंजाब के होशियार पुर में संत पुष्पेंद्र स्वरूप जी महाराज पर शांतिदूतों ने हमला किया है, जब वो घर पर बेटे के साथ थे!!— Arnab Goswami (@ArnabSpeaks25) April 25, 2020
आखिर ये साधु संत की हत्या कांग्रेस शासित राज्यो में ही क्यों हो रही है.??😡😡
The message is being given a communal and political overtone at a time when the country is grappling with the outbreak of novel Coronavirus and a subsequent spate in misinformation surrounding the Muslim community.
BOOM contacted Hoshiarpur police to get more information on the case. The police personnel at Hoshiarpur city police station told us that the case is being investigated.
The cop said, "Two men looted the old seer and escaped. In the process, they attacked him with knives." He further added that the accused are yet to be nabbed. When BOOM told the cop about the communal angle being woven around the incident, the cop denied any such 'Hindu-Muslim angle'.
The verified twitter handle of Punjab police, and Twitter handle of Hoshiarpur police meanwhile tweeted a video of the seer speaking about the attack.
In the video, the monk can be heard saying 'I am swami Pushpendra Swaroop. There has been an attack on me a couple of days ago (April 23), you all know. This attack has been carried out by drug addict looters. I was attacked because I retaliated and tried to remove their masks. It was natural that they would have attacked me. There was a fist fight. However, the attack isn't connected to politics in anyway because there is no possibility involving a political angle here. And there were two boys. They were asking for money and they snatched the money and escaped. Police has been cooperating a lot with me. They are investigating the case properly and I am satisfied. I appeal you to maintain peace and cooperate with police.'
In their tweet, both Hoshiarpur and Punjab police Twitter handles have appealed people to not engage in spreading rumours.
Watch swami Pushpendra Swaroop's recorded message below.
Swami Pushpendra of Hoshiarpur's video message, explaining what happened the day before. It was a case of robbery for which we have already filed a FIR and are already investigating to book the culprits. Urge all to act responsibly and not engage in rumours. @PunjabPoliceInd pic.twitter.com/DKd9SMqEQY— Hoshiarpur Police (@PP_Hoshiarpur) April 25, 2020
Punjab police also quote-tweeted Hoshiarpur police' tweet.