Mumbai: Man booked after two years for maligning innocent trader as terrorist
In September 2016, Sayyed Khan's photos started doing the rounds on WhatsApp labelling him as a terrorist; two years later, the police finally identify the culprits
It's taken two years, but the first step towards justice has been taken — Sayyed Sherali Khan, 32, branded a terrorist after a petty altercation in 2016, has managed to get the rumour-monger-in-chief booked.
After making Khan run around for two years, during which his reputation was torn to shreds and he was forced to change homes, the Virar police have filed a case against the main accused who destroyed Khan's life via a WhatsApp forward, labelling him a terrorist, that had gone viral. mid-day had reported on September 26, 2016, that Khan came to know about the forward after a friend of his received it on September 22 and, shocked, sent it to him (Khan). The forward had a photo of Khan riding a bike with another person behind, and the caption read: "Guys ye adami kidhar bhi dikha to ye log ko pakdo and police ko hand out karo because ye log terrorist hai and har ek jagah jakar udhar k details le rahe hai, be alert (sic)".
The WhatsApp message branding him a terrorist and asking the public to hand him over to police
As the message went viral, Khan started getting abusive and threatening calls and messages. He rushed to the Virar police station to lodge a complaint, but the cops ignored him.
Initially, Khan had said he suspected the miscreants who had set his tempo on fire behind the message. Later, however, it came to light that he had a property in Virar that he was looking to sell, but some issues had cropped up over the price, leading to an altercation between Khan and others. One among them, Pawan Vishwakarma, had then clicked the photo and started the spread.
From pillar to post
"That one message destroyed my life. I had to leave my home in Virar with my wife and children, as it became difficult to stay there. We shifted to Nalasopara and enrolled our kids in another school in the middle of the academic year, which resulting in them losing a year," said Khan.
Sayyed Sherali Khan with his children; the WhatsApp forward branding Khan a terrorist and appealing to the public to hand him over to the police. Pics/Hanif Patel
"I kept following up with cops day after day to book the person behind all this, but no one paid any heed to my complaint and just dismissed it as a 'petty issue'." Khan met senior officer after senior officer, writing letters and even going on a hunger strike, but to no avail. Then superintendent of police Sharda Raut had instructed the senior inspector of Virar police station to take strict action in the matter, but nothing was done. Manjunath Shinge took charge after Raut's transfer, but he did not do anything either.
Relief, at last!
Khan said, "When Gaurav Singh took charge as Palghar SP, I met him too with great hope. He, finally, asked his subordinates to register an offence against the man behind the forward."
The Virar police took down a detailed statement of Khan and booked Vishwarkarma under IPC section 505 (2) (conducing to public mischief) on November 5. "We have registered an FIR against the prime suspect, and orders have been given to conduct a detailed inquiry to nab the offenders," said Singh.
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