New Delhi: A video of a vegetable seller being assaulted by a man after asking his identity surfaced online recently. Within two days the Delhi Police tracked down the accused and arrested him. Identified as Praveen Babbar, the accused is a resident of southeast Delhi’s Badarpur Extension. He runs a tour and travel business.
The video shared on Facebook and Twitter showed the man asking vendor’s identity and then hitting the vegetable seller, Mohd Saleem, with a stick. Abusing the vendor the man can be heard saying, “Tum logo ne jihad macha diya hai”.
Tagging Commissioner of Police, Delhi, Shri S. N. Shrivastava on April 11, Aam Aadmi Party MLA Somnath Bharti tweeted, “If your police can bring back stolen purse of niece of PM within 1-2 days, I am sure that this shameless creature can be traced by you. Plz do justice with him and assure Delhi that any and every attempt to divide Delhi on religious lines will be dealt with iron hands.”
Responding to Bharti, DCP South East Delhi in its tweet wrote: “Cognizance of the incident has already been taken.FIR has been #registered under appropriate sections of law & the perpetrator of crime has been #arrested.Such incidents shall not be tolerated at any cost & law will take its own course against such persons. @DelhiPolice”
RP Meena, DCP South East Delhi shared the press note addressing the viral video. According to the press note, the incident took place on April 11 at Tajpur road, Badarpur.
According to DCP (southeast) RP Meena, a case has been registered at Badarpur police station under various IPC sections.
However, Saleem’s elder brother informed that the incident took place on April 10 afternoon. Indian Express quoted as saying, “My brother came back home crying, scared and with a swollen arm. He told us a man with a stick had asked vegetable vendors to leave. He said that as soon as the man found his name, he hit him with a stick and his accomplice started making a video.” 21-year-old, Saleem told that since the day of the incident, he has not left his home to sell vegetables.
Saleem, Dilshad (also a daily wager) and their four younger siblings moved to Delhi from UP’s Bareilly in search of work. Their mother passed away and their father is in Bareilly. The brothers told that they rented a cart and procured vegetables to sell, and then the lockdown was announced. They couldn’t return home and are dependent on the vegetable cart as our source of income.
They also told that though the landlord has waived the rent for now but buying ration is a problem. Dilshad said, “We are scared, we just want to go back home now. We don’t want to live in Delhi. We are hungry and we are being beaten.”
Following recipt of a message on Twitter from the Cyber Cell, police tracked down Babbar with the help of the motorcycle that can be seen in the video whose number plate is visible. The vehicle was traced to one Sudhanshu, a resident of Molarband. He said the incident took place at Tajpur Road in Badarpur Extension and helped identify the accused as Babbar.
Signed up as a COVID-19 volunteer with the Delhi Police a few days ago, Sudhanshu has been allotted a lane in the area to keep an eye on. He told “I was on my way somewhere when I saw this. It made me feel bad and I wanted to intervene, but the accused was so angry and had a stick. I wasn’t sure what he was capable of doing.”
The accused and the victim were tracked down on Sunday. During police inquiry, Babbar said that on the day of the incident, there were 10 vegetable sellers and their carts at the site and he asked the seller to move from there as a lockdown had been enforced. Babbar claimed that Saleem didn’t move, which angered him.
However, several people on social media have claimed, “This man asked ID Card and name of this vendor, when he said “Mohammad Saleem” he was abused and beaten up brutally.”