Kerala Cop in This Sabarimala Photo is Not a CPM Worker
A photo of an uniformed police officer from Kerala is viral on social media with a false narrative that the man is not a policeman but a member of a political party – the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM).
The social media posts claim that the man impersonated a policeman and assaulted devotees at the Sabarimala temple during recent protests that broke out after women tried to enter the shrine.
The photo first went viral after senior RSS functionary, J Nandakumar, tweeted it on October 23 with the caption, “Can any police perടonnel have this type of hairstyle. You may ask why I’m asking this question. Guy in this picture was in uniform during brutal lathi charge against #Sabarimala devotees. Which camp this goon belongs to, CPM or SDPI?”
Nandakumar’s post challenging the policeman’s haircut and implying that he belonged to a political party received 2,713 retweets and 2,929 likes.
Soon, people started commenting on this tweet that the man was a “Vallabh Das, an active CPM member from Trivandrum.”
The post then went viral on a Facebook group – ‘Rearming Hinduism’ – with the caption, “Vallabh Das, Active CPM party member from Trivandrum. He is not even recruited in the Kerala Police. But this goon was in the Police Uniform trying to attack Innocent Ayyappa devotees at Shabarimalai during the past five days… Laath Salaam.. !!! (sic)”
BOOM was able to ascertain that the man in the photo is Ashik Jafer, and a quick search of his social media account showed photos of him wearing a police uniform.
Jafer has also uploaded photos from his oath-taking ceremony and the passing-out parade. BOOM also reached out to the Kerala Police, which confirmed that the man in the photo was a member of the Kerala Armed Police (KAP), and not a political worker. A senior police officer at KAP, who wished to remain anonymous, said that Jafer was a police constable with the KAP.
“He has been in service since 2017 and is presently posted in the C company of the KAP 5th Battalion, Kuttikkanam, ” the senior police officer told BOOM.
Following the viral posts, the Kerala Police also issued a statement on its official Facebook page, saying, “Few fake campaigns on social media against police officers who were on duty at Sabarimala has come to our notice. First, a photo of a police officer is being circulated with the claim that a member of the youth organisation was dressed up as police at Sabarimala. Fact: The photo that is being circulated is that of Constable Ashiq of KAP 5th Battalion. The claims about his hairstyle are baseless.”
(This article was first published in BoomLive and has been republished here with due permission.)
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