Police in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr district on Thursday booked a Samajwadi Party worker and over 100 people for allegedly flouting COVID-19 norms during a public address in connection with the alleged attack on an elderly Muslim in Ghaziabad. The FIR does not name as an accused the Muslim man, Abdul Shamad Saifi, who had claimed that he was attacked by some young men in Ghaziabad earlier this month and forced to chant Jai Shri Ram.
Local Samajwadi Party worker in Ghaziabad Ummaid Pehelwan Idrisi and four other persons identified as Tajuddin, Firoz Mewati, Aalam and Javed have been named as accused, according to the FIR, which was lodged at 4 pm on Thursday over a complaint by a policeman.
“I was on a patrol duty in my area Anoophshahr, when I got to know that Ummaid Pehelwan Idrisi along with others had addressed a crowd at a chowk here at 9 pm on June 16 despite COVID-19 restrictions imposed in the state from 7 pm to 7 am in connection with the incident that took place with Abdul Shamad Saifi on June 5," Sub-Inspector Bahadur Singh alleged.
“A video clip of a Facebook live related to this address is also circulating on social media. These people were not wearing face masks. Anoopshahr locals Tajuddin, Firoz Mewati, Aalam, Javed and 90 to 100 other unidentified people were also in the crowd which had gathered in violation of the COVID-19 norms," he alleged.
Besides the named individuals, 90 to 100 unidentified people have been mentioned as accused in the case filed under Indian Penal Code Sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (unlawfully or negligently spreading infection of any disease dangerous to life), 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life). Charges under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 have also been invoked in the case, according to the FIR seen by PTI.
Samajwadi Party worker Idris has already been booked by police in Ghaziabad for circulating Saifi’s video, in which he narrated the ordeal of the attack on him, allegedly after giving it a communal colour and with an intention to disrupt public peace.
The Ghaziabad police has maintained that the incident took place because the accused were unhappy over the ‘tabeez’ (amulets) sold to them by Saifi and ruled out any communal angle in the episode. In the video that triggered nationwide reaction, Saifi purportedly says he was attacked by some young men and forced to chant Jai Shri Ram even as the district police responded that he did not make any such allegation in the FIR.
This FIR about the assault and illegal confinement was lodged on June 7, two days after the incident, on the complaint of Saifi, a resident of Anoopshahar in adjoining Bulandshahr district. At least five people have been arrested so far in connection with the attack on Saifi, according to Ghaziabad police officials.