“The current Covid pandemic happened as a result of the Supreme Court verdict ordering the building of the Ram Mandir at the Babri Masjid demolition site, and will end only when Babri Masjid is rebuilt”. A garbage van attached to the Kota Municipal Corporation (KMC) in Rajasthan was using its loudspeaker to spread this message, a clear attempt to incite communal violence.
The garbage van was supposed to use its speakers to spread the Covid awareness message. The vehicle on its door-to-door garbage collection duty was stopped by alert citizens who took videos of the incident and uploaded them on social media.
Municipal vehicle in Rajasthan’s Kota caught blaring from loudspeaker that the pandemic is a result of SC verdict in Ayodhya land dispute and the crisis will end only when Babri mosque is rebuilt. @KotaPolice arrested two people for this pic.twitter.com/0O7Yhj16Te
— प्रो. राकेश गोस्वामी / Prof. Rakesh Goswami (@DrRakeshGoswami) May 4, 2021
The mischief occurred on Sunday in the Dadabari area of Kota. Ankit Jain, the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) of the area confirmed that the driver of a garbage van named Deepak Valmiki (21) and his friend Jassu (23) were arrested following a complaint. The driver was seen alleging that he was just a driver and that his contractor was the one who had asked him to play the audio.
Later, Deepak told police that he received the message from Jassu on his WhatsApp. He said that his phone was connected to the loudspeakers via Bluetooth and that this inflammatory clip was in its queue. He maintained that he played it ”accidentally”. Why he didn’t stop the audio is still a mystery.
The contractor maintained his innocence and complained to the police following which a case under Section 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class) and 76 of the Internet Technology (IT) Act was registered against the two.
The DSP added that investigations are on. The KMC Commissioner, Kirti Rathore said that private contractors operate such garbage vehicles. Three KMC officials have been sent notices alleging negligence of duty.
There are allegations that the anti-Hindu tirade is the handiwork of the Congress party that rules the KMC. The police are also inquiring as to who caught the incident on tape and uploaded it. Local BJP leader Sandeep Sharma has hinted at conspiracy and has demanded that the cops arrest the real Islamists behind this dirty trick immediately.
Such incidents also indicate the mental degradation of the proponents of such theories during times of crisis. The audio purports that the pandemic will stop when a mosque is built at the same site! Such conspiracy theories, superstitions and rumor-mongering is rife among the minority community, as was seen last year too when likes of Tablighi Jamaat supremo Maulana S’aad was heard giving sermons that Corona will not impact Muslims who flock to mosques, and that only Kafirs (non-Muslims) need material remedies.
Leaders and MLAs of Islamist parties like AIMIM and AIUDF have also spread rumours that ‘Coronavirus is a conspiracy’ to either kill Muslims in quarantine centres or render them sterile. Now, during the vaccination drive, rumours are being fanned by leading Muslim clerics that Covid-19 vaccines might contain pig fat, considered haram (forbidden) in Islam.
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