A soldier has been arrested in Kerala for allegedly faking an assault by a banned Islamist outfit for publicity and to get a transfer.
The arrest of Shine Kumar, a jawan, ended two days of high drama during which the BJP had swiftly backed him and given the allegations a communal turn to besmirch an “INDIA partner-ruled” state. Sections of the media and the Right-wing social media ecosystem had also begun whipping up nationalistic sentiments.
Shine, posted at the Indian Army’s Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME) Corps, had claimed he was attacked by members of the Popular Front of India in Kollam. But inconsistencies in his account, the confession of his friend Joshi who said he was made to write “PFI” with green paint on Shine’s back, and the recovery of paint and brush from Joshi’s home led to the jawan’s arrest and eventual confession.
Shine, 35, had told personnel at Kaddakkal police station on Monday that he was assaulted on Sunday night by six men who also inscripted “PFI” with green paint on his back.
Once they left, Shine claimed, he got up and used his teeth to tear the tape. He then purportedly dialled his friend Joshi, who rushed to his help.
The police cracked the case by repeatedly questioning Joshi. In a video clip broadcast by several TV channels, Joshi is seen telling the police that he had initially written “DFI” instead of “PFI” and then corrected it on Shine’s instructions.
“He said he wanted to be famous and handed over a blade to me, asking me to tear his T-shirt. I tore it. I first wrote ‘DFI’ since that’s what I heard. But he said it was PFI and I corrected it. He then asked me to hit him. But I couldn’t do that since I was heavily drunk. He lay on the ground and asked me to drag him. I couldn’t because he was too heavy. So he asked me to tape his mouth and hands and leave. So I did that,” Joshi is heard telling the police.