Sufi Abdul Samad, whose video statement is at the centre of an FIR by Uttar Pradesh police against Twitter, several journalists and Opposition politicians, has stood by his account detailing an assault on him, according to a fresh video clip recorded by reporters at his ancestral home in Bulandshahar on Wednesday night.
“Those who had attacked me had forced me to chant Jai Shri Ram. They were beating me and had put a pistol on my head,” said the elderly Samad after reaching, along with his family members, Meera Mohalla of Anupshahar in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahar.
The assault took place at Loni in Ghaziabad in the first week of this month. But Uttar Pradesh police claimed there was no communal element in the attack and linked it to a dispute over the alleged sale of amulets.
On Wednesday night, Samad said he was never involved in exorcism or in the sale of amulets. “They offered me urine when I told them that I was thirsty.... They started cutting my beard,” said Samad, breathing heavily.
He was unable to move on his own and his two sons were seen helping him walk.
“I didn’t know the attackers before and none of them was a Muslim as they wouldn’t have asked me to chant Jai Shri Ram. I never did exorcism or sell amulets; I am a traditional carpenter-blacksmith,” Samad said.
Umed Pahalwan, a Samajwadi Party leader, accompanied Samad and his family to the village.
Bulandshahar police on Thursday registered a case against Pahalwan and two others for collecting a large number of people at the door of Samad on Wednesday night. Sections linked to the pandemic have been slapped on Pahalwan.
Pahalwan has been booked for a negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life (Section 269), malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life (Section 270), disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant (Section 188). The Epidemic Disease Act was also slapped on them. Samad said he and his family had gone to Ghaziabad to meet one of his relatives.
The police said Samad had filed a police report on June 7 against two people at Loni police station, accusing them of manhandling and insulting him in Hajipur village on June 5. Four suspects have been picked up so far.
However, after two videos of the incident started circulating on social media, the police booked Twitter and some journalists and politicians who tweeted the clips.
Ramsen Singh, station house officer of Anupshahar, said: “Loni police are looking after the case. They are here but we don’t have to do anything with it.”
Harendra Singh, additional superintendent of police of Bulandshahar, said: “We are aware of the case and helping Loni police.”
The Centre is not in favour of banning any social media platform like Twitter and WhatsApp but they must follow the law of the land, Union information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was quoted as saying on Thursday.
“The government is not in favour of banning any social media platform. If half of the government is on Twitter, including the Prime Minister and President, it shows how fair the government is, but social media intermediaries, a status that Twitter has lost, have to follow local rules,” the minister told ANI.
Cyber law analysts have said Twitter has not lost the intermediary tag but the protection under Section 79 the IT Act because of non-compliance with the new rules.