The photo of the four accused, arrested for assaulting two Kashmiri vendors in Lucknow is being shared with a false claim that they are members of the Congress and Samajwadi Party. Media reports and local police inform that the attackers only belong to a right wing group Vishwa Hindu Dal Trust.
The post is viral with a text in Hindi,”#लखनऊ मे भगवा वस्त्र पहन कर #कश्मीरी युवक को पीटने वाले #कांग्रेस और #सपा के कार्यकर्ता निकले।” (English translation – The saffron-clothed men who beat up a Kashmiri youngster turn out to be Congress and SP workers)
The post had more than 200 shares at the time of writing the story.
You can access the archived version of the post here.
Searching with the text in the caption, BOOM found many users sharing the same screenshot with the same text on Facebook and Twitter.
#लखनऊ मे भगवा वस्त्र पहन कर #कश्मीरी युवक को पीटने वाले #कांग्रेस और #सपा के कार्यकर्ता निकले। you are also in the same group Mr Sharma who faked as Hindu and do something to malign Hindus . Kudos Sharma keep on doing it . pic.twitter.com/JcOwGzB4lL— Abhijit Sen (@Abhijitsen001) March 8, 2019
On March 6, Lucknow based journalist Prashant Kumar tweeted a video showing a few men wearing saffron kurtas assaulting two Kashmiri men selling dryfruits. The attackers could be seen beaing up the vendors and abusing them by making anti-Kashmir remarks. The video which soon went viral led to the Lucknow police arresting four men including a Bajrang Sonkar, a history sheeter and member of a local right wing organisation.
SECOND video of the attack. These cries of this Kashmiri should make us all hand our heads in shame. Truly disgusted to see these clips. This is not the #NewIndia anyone can hope for. India is big, our hearts are bigger. Kashmir is our and so are the Kashmiris. pic.twitter.com/L7nXAqL2vf— Prashant Kumar (@scribe_prashant) March 6, 2019
In a press conference held by the Kalanidhi Naithani, Senior Superitendent of Police, Lucknow regarding the incident, he said that the four people have been arrested and that they are members of the Vishwa Hindu Dal trust, a local right wing group run by Ambuj Nigam.
BOOM looked for the Vishwa Hindu Dal (VHD) on Facebook and found an unverified but claims to be the official page of the Vishwa Hindu Dal. In the cover photo of the page, we also noticed Bajrang Sonkar on the extreme right. The VHD could not be reached despite repeated attempts.
Naithani in his press conference added that Sonkar has a few criminal cases.
BOOM scanned through the profile of Bajrang Sonkar on Facebook and found many posts that are communal in nature. A recent post by Sonkar is an appeal to the public to join his fight, “for Hindus and the Indian Army.”
Another post by Sonkar says that if India captures Pakistan, he has sole right on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s wife Reham Khan. He says in Hindi that Reham Khan “will be his and no one else’s”. The post which went viral, Sonkar signs off as, “Mafia, Vishwa Hindu Dal.”