After outrage on social media, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the NSA will be invoked against the accused.
Days after a video showed a man urinating on a tribal labourer in Madhya Pradesh’s Sidhi district, the victim has now filed a police affidavit denying the incident ever took place. He has also said that any police action, against the person who shared the “fake” video on social media, will be valid.
The video was widely circulated on social media last week but was shot one year ago. The villager who first shared the video on social media has claimed that he is now receiving threats.
Meanwhile, a case was filed on Tuesday at the Bahri police station. Pravesh Shukla, the man seen urinating in the video, has been booked under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and other IPC sections, police said. Amid outrage on social media, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that the accused must be booked under the National Security Act.
While locals claimed Pravesh is a representative of Seedhi MLA Kedarnath Shukla, the MLA has denied the same. On posters and pictures showing the two together, the BJP leader said, “I am a leader. People come and stand next to me but it doesn’t mean that he is my representative,” he told Newslaundry.
Newslaundry spoke to Deen Dayal Sahu, who had recorded the incident on his phone “outside his shop” near Panchayat Bhawan in Kubri village of Sidhi. “The victim is a very simple person belonging to the Kol community. He had come to my shop for a phone recharge and was sitting on the stairs when Shukla came there and started urinating on him. The victim tried to stop him but he didn’t listen. I recorded the video for a few seconds and then tried to stop him, but he didn’t listen…he is the MLA’s representative and often bosses around in the village. People are afraid of him and his group…even the police favour them,” Sahu alleged.
Sahu shared the video with one Adarsh Shukla, who in turn shared it on social media on June 26.
The victim, Pravesh, Adarsh, and Sahu are from the same village.
Adarsh claimed that Pravesh had gone missing as soon as the video was shared online, and that his family had filed a missing person complaint blaming him. He also alleged that the police pressured the victim to deny the incident and blame him for circulating a “fake” video.
“On June 29, his family filed a missing complaint at the local police station and the police started harassing me. They said that in case he takes any wrong step then they will file a case against me. But he never went missing. He was in hiding. On July 2, I saw him online on Facebook and informed the police…they said that they are aware of his location and have found him in Satna. The same day, they pressured the victim and made him write an affidavit that Pravesh Shukla has not committed any such act and the video is fake,” Adarsh alleged.
Newslaundry has seen the affidavit, which says that Pravesh Shukla is a “political person of repute” and that the “video was made viral to tarnish his image”. “In case any complaint is filed against Adarsh Shukla on my behalf then it should be considered valid because the video is fake,” it read.
The victim or his family could not be reached for comment.
Newslaundry reached out to Pawan Singh, SHO of Bahri police station. “We came to know about the incident today itself. We have booked Pravesh Shukla under the SC/ST Act and other relevant sections of IPC. We are searching for him and will arrest him. We have also met the victim. We asked him about the incident but he is not saying anything against Pravesh Shukla. We don’t know why he is saying that. Maybe he is under pressure or scared…senior officers are enquiring about the incident.”
On Adarsh’s allegation about the missing person complaint and the police having tracked Pravesh on July 2, Arun Singh, an assistant sub inspector at Bahri police station, said, “His family had filed the missing complaint but he came back a day before. But now again he has gone absconding as the matter escalated.”
Newslaundry also reached out to Sidhi SP Ravindra Verma for comment. He said he was in a meeting.
*The victim’s name has been withheld to protect his identity.
Update at 10.45 am, July 5: Pravesh Shukla was arrested late on Tuesday night.
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