43-year-old former police constable Rakesh Tyagi who was arrested for allegedly posting a video on social media posing as a sub-inspector and issuing threats to those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has been released.
The video immediately went viral and was reported to the Delhi Police. DCP (Cyber Crime) Anyesh Roy who took cognizance of the video told reporters that Tyagi was a constable who had opted for voluntary retirement (VRS) in 2014. Tyagi who hails from Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh, didn’t use his old uniform and had bought a fake one, the police said. He was arrested from his Uttam Nagar home.
In the video he had uploaded on social media that has since been taken down, he could be seen impersonating a senior police inspector, threatening to “shoot the protestors” if they pelted stones at policemen. He said, “Greh mantri ka adesh hai… to uska palan hoga, samvidhaan ko bachaya jayega. Chahe Babur, Akbar ya Humayun ho, agar mere upar patthar gira to main seedhe shootout kar dunga. Agar eenth se mara, mai use sambhalunga aur Ram Mandir banwaunga (We are following orders from the Home Minister and will save the Constitution… If someone pelts a stone at me, I will shoot that person. If they throw a brick at me, I will take it and use it to make Ram Mandir).”
DCP Roy released a statement online stating that the department would act suo-motu and book Tyagi under relevant sections of the IPC and IT act.
Information Bulletin pic.twitter.com/JPIBMY9Isj
— DCP Cybercrime (@DCP_CCC_Delhi) December 29, 2019
However, after Tyagi was released on bail by about 100 – 150 people who came to his rescue, he posted another video to Facebook.
In the 25-minute long video he posted on December 28 after he got back on bail, he said, Humne aisi konsi galat baat kardi…. Kuch khaas kaum ke logo ne complaint ki. 10 baje police waale aaye mujhe uthake le gaye… main fir bhi Dilli Police ka samman karta hoon. (I didn’t say anything wrong. People from a certain community filed a complaint against me and the policemen came to my house at 10 pm and arrested me. I still respect Delhi Police…)”
On his Facebook profile, Tyagi says he has been a Sub Inspector at Delhi Police from February 1997 till date.
Tyagi has been lying through his teeth, first posing as a sub-inspector even though he has retired and in the second video, claiming to continue wearing his khaki even though he’s not part of the force anymore, which a violation under law. He has asked the complainants why they didn’t file cases against UP CM Yogi Adityanath or PM Modi for echoing the same sentiments as he did, mentioning that it wasn’t his speech that was inciting, but people like Asaduddin Owaisi who were giving inflammatory speeches against the CAA-NRC and inciting the Muslims.
A look through his profile will reveal links with IAS officers other bureaucrats and his affiliation for the ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). His followers, mostly from the right-wing Hindutva brigade are also taken up by his fashionable avatar, or the image of the ‘cool’ cop that he portrays.
On December 17, he had put up a Facebook post in which he had requested PM Modi to give the Delhi Police a free hand to teach a lesson to the rioters. He had written that the answer to rioting was ‘bullets’. He had earlier too asked for ‘shoot at sight’ for protestors who had allegedly hurt members of the Delhi police.
He has openly referred to protestors as ‘jihadis’ and his followers too parrot his sentiments. Being an ex-cop, Tyagi has access to weaponry (he has posted a picture with him holding guns) and has immense influence on his followers. He is also friends with right-wingers like Updesh Rana who have been repeat hate offenders indulging in communal hatred.
Tyagi’s own profile reveals his prejudice against minorities. With a following of more than 3,000 just on Facebook, people like Tyagi can be dangerous for the safety of people he thinks don’t belong in the country. His access to weapons and his expertise in using those weapons is oddly reminiscent of Lt. Col Purohit, who was probably the first serving officer to have been arrested. He was arrested for floating Abhinav Bharat, a hardline pro-Hindu group, to collect funds to procure arms and explosives for the Malegaon blasts.
That Tyagi has ideological affiliations with the ruling parties and its allies is apparent. His words make one recall statements by top BJP leaders who have now launched a hate-speech campaign against a particular community as the protests against their CAA-NRC imposition refuse to die down.
But the point of concern is that, a person like Tyagi, can easily run camps to influence people using his hardline Hindutva ideology to brainwash them into lashing out against minorities and the marginalized. Whether he will be stopped in his tracks, at least on social media, for violating guidelines is yet to be seen.
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