Pandemic Will End Only When Babri Mosque Is Rebuilt At Same Spot: Municipal Vehicle In Kota City Blares Audio 

Pandemic Will End Only When Babri Mosque Is Rebuilt At Same Spot: Municipal Vehicle In Kota City Blares Audio Stills from a viral video that caught the vehicle blaring the objectionable audio.
Snapshot
  • The Kota police said they have made two arrests in the matter, including that of the driver.

At a time when the second wave of coronavirus pandemic has caught the country unawares, resulting in many deaths, the crisis is being exploited by some to spread hate and propaganda against the under-construction Ram temple in Ayodhya.

In Kota city of Rajasthan, a municipality vehicle was recently caught blaring an audio that the pandemic and resulting deaths are a direct outcome of Supreme Court verdict in Ayodhya land dispute.

Last year, the apex court awarded the title of the land, on which the Babri mosque stood, to Ram Lalla, ending over a hundred-year-old legal dispute.

A four-minute video, that has gone viral on the social media, shows a group of men (not seen in the video) stopping a municipality tipper. They object to the audio being blared from its loudspeaker. The audio says that the only way to stop the mayhem and deaths is to rebuild the Babri mosque at the place where it stood.

Watch the video here:

The man driving the vehicle, when questioned, says his name is Deepak. He says he is a “Hindu himself” and has been forced to play the audio against his will. He names one Rohit, the “supervisor”, as the person who asked the audio to be played.

Deepak says that several municipal vehicles had been asked to play the audio. He says he felt angry at the audio himself, but had no option but to play it as per instructions.

The garbage collection vehicle bears these details: ‘Zone Vigyan Nagar, Sector number 14, Ward number 29, Route number 1, Nagar Nigam Kota’.

This correspondent called up the phone number written on the vehicle, but nobody answered the calls despite several attempts.

The police made arrests in the case yesterday (2 May). Surprisingly, one of the arrests of the driver, Deepak.

The verified Twitter account of Kota City police put out a press note regarding the incident yesterday.

The note (in Hindi) has been prepared as per the statement of Kota city police chief Vikas Pathak.

It says that the Darabari police received a complaint by a person who is a partner in the business of garbage collection, and manages 36 such tippers. The complaint said that the audio was stored in the mobile phone of the driver, who had connected his phone to the vehicle’s sound system through bluetooth. The complaint appealed to the police to file a case against the driver.

The note further says that the Dadabari police booked the driver under Section 295 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 67 of the Information Technology Act.

A police team was successful in arresting the driver, who gave a statement that he is part of a WhatsApp group called Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and the audio in question had been posted on the group by one of his friends. The police subsequently arrested that friend too.

The press note names neither the driver who has been booked and arrested, nor his friend who allegedly posted the audio on the WhatsApp group.

Read the press note here:

As one can see, the note is quite contradictory to the driver’s statement in the viral video, where he is clearly seen saying that he has been “forced” to play the audio, on instruction of “Rohit, the supervisor”.

A report on the incident done by news portal ETV Bharat carries a photograph of a police officer standing with two arrested men, both wearing masks. One of them is wearing the same T-shirt as the driver in the viral video who introduced himself as Deepak.

Pandemic Will End Only When Babri Mosque Is Rebuilt At Same Spot: Municipal Vehicle In Kota City Blares Audio 

The ETV report quotes a person named Rohit Mehra, introduced as supervisor of the tippers (he is mostly like the same man that Deepak mentions in the video). Mehra has been quoted as saying that it is a matter of investigation as to how the driver got the audio in his phone.

The report says that the person who “gave” the audio and was later arrested by the police is named Jaswinder.

This correspondent called up Darabari police, but the calls went answered.

Deepak’s version has not been presented in any news report.

The mismatch in the police’s version and the driver’s impromptu statement in the viral video raises questions if he is being made into a scapegoat, and social media users are indeed pointing it out.

Swati Goel Sharma is a senior editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @swati_gs.

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