Opinion | Who stopped Rajasthan police from taking tough action?
Rajasthan Police on Thursday removed the Circle Officer, Sandeep Saraswat, who was seen allegedly tutoring a ‘khadim’ of Ajmer Sharif shrine, Salman Chishti, who had given a call to behead Nupur Sharma. An inquiry has been ordered against him and he has been put on APO (awaiting posting order), officiating DGP Umesh Mishra said.
The circle officer of DSP rank, Sandeep Saraswat, is an officer of Rajasthan Police Service, and the inquiry against him will be conducted by the vigilance branch. In our prime time show ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ on India TV on Wednesday night, we showed how, while being taken to the police station, the circle officer was tutoring Salman Chishti to say, “Bol Dena, Nashe Me Tha” (tell them you were intoxicated). Salman Chishti had offered to gift his house to anyone who beheads Nupur Sharma for her controversial remark against Prophet Mohammad.
A local BJP MLA Vasudev Devnani shared the video clip on Facebook and said “this is the height of appeasement by the Rajasthan government’.
This video, in which a senior Rajasthan police officer is trying to tutor a ‘history sheeter’ like Salman Chishti, has surprised all. It clearly indicates how some officers in the state police are showing sympathy to criminals and are trying to shield the man who has given a call to behead Nupur Sharma.
How can people expect justice when a police officer tells a criminal what lie to tell? Another surprising point in the video was that Salman Chishti was telling the police officer that he never drinks alcohol.
This was how the conversation took place in the video. The policeman telling Chishti: “Come, are you drunk? Don’t worry, we are with you. Come here, Don’t worry, come here.” Policeman (again): “Which alcohol did you take while making the video?” Salman Chishti: “I never drink alcohol.” Policeman: “Tell them, you were drunk, you can save yourself.”
This video was made when police arrested Salman Chishti in Khadim Mohalla at night from his residence. In the video, Salman looked worried, but the policeman accompanying him was showing sympathy to him. The policeman in the video is not an ordinary constable. He is the Circle Officer of Ajmer Dargah Sharif locality.
On Wednesday, when the hate video of Salman Chishti became viral, Ajmer Police had claimed that he was absconding. The fact is, he never absconded, and was in his home. Police nabbed him easily on Wednesday night, and the conversation that I mentioned above, took place between the khadim and the Circle Officer.
The man who openly gave a call to behead Nupur Sharma, and brought infamy to India throughout the world, was being tutored by a senior police officer how to tell a lie. In spite of that, the accused was clearly saying that he never drank alcohol. This means he was in his senses when he made the video in which he gave a call to behead Nupur Sharma. It also clearly indicates that Rajasthan Police was trying to prove that Salman Chishti made this hate video when he was intoxicated.
On Wednesday, when the Additional SP of Ajmer, Vikas Sangwan, was asked about Salman’s hate video, he said, the khadim must have done it in a state of intoxication. It could be that since the police had already taken a line, the CO was whispering in Salman’s ear to tell the court that he was intoxicated.
The police theory about intoxication has now spread to office bearers of Ajmer shrine Anjuman Committee, who have now started saying that Salman Chishti did it in a state of intoxication, since he was an alcoholic and a drug addict.
BJP in Rajasthan has now made it a political issue. Mahant Balaknath, BJP MP from Alwar, alleged that it was because of the policy of appeasement followed by Rajasthan’s Congress government, that the atmosphere is deteriorating. Mahant Balaknath alleged that Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s government has become pro-Muslim, and this is causing communal tension. BJP Rajya Sabha member Kirodi Lal Meena said, a lower level police officer can never give such an advice to a criminal, unless he gets orders from above. He described this video as a clear example of Rajasthan government’s appeasement policy.
One can say that the reactions of BJP leaders are political, but the manner in which the state police wrote the script on the ‘khadim’ who gave a call for beheading, makes it amply clear that police was trying to shield him. This could be the outcome of the state government’s Muslim appeasement policy. Another example is that police did not take cognizance of this death threat on time, and waited for the video to go viral. This is sheer negligence.
What is more worrying is that the world famous Ajmer Sharif dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, which was a symbol of communal brotherhood and amity, has been used in the last one week, to spread hatred. At a meeting near the shrine, calls were given to “teach Hindus a lesson”. Such calls were not given by ordinary Muslims. They were given by some of the ‘khadims’ who manage this famous shrine.
Secret meetings of radical Muslim outfits like People’s Front of India (PFI) and its political wing, Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), were held inside the shrine. Sarwar Chishti, the secretary of Anjuman Committee, that manages the shrine, had convened one such meeting. There is a video of one of the meetings. The video shows Sarwar Chishti sitting with PFI secretary Mohammed Anees and SDPI leader Mohammed Hashmi. Both the PFI and SDPI leaders were praising Sarwar Chishti in the meeting.
In the video, SDPI leader Mohammed Hashmi is heard saying: “The message that goes out from this shrine of Garib Nawaz is that if you oppress us, we are not going to take it lying down. Janab Sarwar Chishti Sahab’s voice is heard across the world. A good, sincere and honest Mussalman will always stand up against oppression. Only those who prefer oppression will go with the other side. They are ‘dalals’ (brokers) of fascism. Today we want to send this message to the whole country that we are all with the PFI and SDPI. The voices of all secular forces, including that of Sarwar Chishti, are one.”
In my show ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ on Wednesday night, we showed an old video dated February 7, 2022, in which Sarwar Chishti was taking part in a PFI ‘Unity March’ rally in Kota, where he gave an inflammatory speech. In his speech, Sarwar Chishti said, “We are not going to be afraid of Modi. We will fight Modi. We stand with PFI.” Remember, this was the time when there was a big hue and cry in Karnataka over wearing of hijab by girl students. The Kota rally was given permission by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s government. Later, it was found that the Kota rally was followed by violence that took place in Karauli during a Ramnavami procession.
India TV reporter Manish Bhattacharya asked the Dewan (spiritual head) of Ajmer dargah, Syed Zainul Abedin about PFI meetings. He did not name Sarwar Chishti, but admitted that people from PFI used to come to the shrine regularly and hold meetings in the dargah.
Asked why he did not stop such meetings, the Dewan replied, it was not in his powers to do so, and it was up to the ‘khadims’ of dargah and the Anjuman Committee to take the final decision. The Dewan said, “the video in which Salman Chishti called for beheading Nupur Sharma, goes against the core teachings of Khwaja Garib Nawaz. Islam never allows violence and Salman Chishti must get punishment. It should also be probed as to how such people get the courage to give calls for beheading people.”
It was Sarwar Chishti, who on June 17, the day he was elected secretary of Anjuman Committee, gave a call to pilgrims not to buy articles outside the shrine from Hindu shopkeepers, nor sell any articles to them. Sarwar Chishti was probably incensed when Hindus in Ajmer brought out a silent procession in support of Nupur Sharma.
Sarwar Chishti knows very well the type of radical outfit PFI is, and how it is misleading Muslims by peddling half-truths. By joining hands with PFI, he has forgotten the illustrious heritage of Ajmer Sharif shrine that had been propagating the message of love and brotherhood.
For last 800 years, both Hindu and Muslim pilgrims had been worshipping at this shrine. Sarwar Chishti forgot that spreading hate by sitting inside this great shrine is nothing but a sin. Most of the ‘khadims’ at this shrine do not believe in hate. They oppose the poisonous ideology of PFI and Sarwar Chishti.
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