On May 6, a security incident triggered a panic at Bengaluru metro station. A man who walked through the metal detector triggered blinking of red lights on the metal detector. He was asked by security guards to raise his hands to be frisked for security purpose.
However, the man refused and decided to leave the station. CCTV footage further showed that the same man tried entering from other entrance. He was asked to open his bag, then he fled again.
This incident put top metro officials into a vigil. As the news started spreading further, many news channels and media houses picked it up, showing CCTV footage of him as a ‘terror suspect’.
Later, the police were able to catch hold of the ‘suspect’ who then detained him on May 10. Turns out that this man, named Sajid Khan from Jhunjhunu district in Rajasthan came with his family to the city to collect zakat during the month of Ramzan, charity money given at mosques.
However, the whole incident has left Khan and his family scared. The media reports of him being a terror suspect and false narratives on social media have only added fuel to the fire, so much so, that even the Police also feels that he stands at the risk of being attacked by misinformed locals.
“I Can Only Cry And Pray”: Khan
“Why am I being humiliated and branded a terrorist? What is my fault? My biggest fear is that someone on the street will recognise me from the TV visuals and lynch me. I fear for my life. The media must realise that not every man with a beard and a skull cap is a terrorist,” a shaken Khan told The Hindu.
While explaining his side of the story, Khan said that he spent the whole day begging in the busy shopping complexes in the Majestic area. Seeing a lot of people flocking towards a big building, he went towards the same, thinking it to be another shopping complex. Khan had never entered a metro station before. He said that he was carrying coins worth odd Rs 200. Unaware of the security system, he panicked when the beepers went out. Unable to understand the guards who were speaking in Kannada, he fled the scene.
Khan says that due to inaccessibility to TV, he was completely unaware of the fact that the incident had occupied prime time news across different Kannada news channels. In fact, he was begging in front of an RT Nagar mosque when he was detained by police.
This case has likely to have caused much furore due to the fact that the Sri Lanks blasts had happened very recently. “We found nothing incriminating on Sajid. However, we have detained him to cross-check with our counterparts in Jhunjhunu about his claims and to ascertain his background,” Police Commissioner T. Suneel Kumar told The Hindu. He further said that media coverage went overboard and ‘targetted a particular community, creating tension in the society’. Reports suggest that a few media channels went to the extent of adding ‘belt bomb’.
The Upparpet Police Station also confirmed to The Logical Indian that Khan is indeed innocent and had come to Bengaluru to seek alms. Reportedly, the police are now probing into the media’s source for the footage. Summoning the editors of these channels is also being considered.
Wristwatch Maker Suspected To Be Terrorist
Before Khan was traced by the police, a section of media was carrying the news that Riyaz Ahmed, who passed through the metal detector before Khan to be the ‘terror suspect’. A wristwatch maker by profession, Ahmed alleged that reports of such nature caused immense trauma to him and his family.
“He saw his face on TV and saw that people were calling him a terrorist. He said that this has caused him immense mental harassment as people in his neighbourhood are looking at him in a wary manner,” DCP West Ravi D Channannavar told the media on May 8. The Upparpet Police had then formed a team to probe into who leaked the video to the media and spread incorrect information that Ahmed was a ‘terror suspect’.
The Logical Indian condemns the extremely irresponsible way that the media reported on this issue. In the quest for garnering more views, few media channels forget the basic principle of journalism, thereby even posing a great danger to the lives of people involved.
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