Surat journalist and BJP leader threatened for backing Nupur Sharma: police

Police in Surat district of Gujarat state provided security to a journalist after he complained that he had received threats to his life for his “support of Nupur Sharma”, which arrested a BJP spokesperson for her controversial comments on the Prophet Muhammad. The BJP leader was also allegedly threatened, after declaring his support for Sharma in a memo submitted to the district collector.

Surat-based journalist Yuvraj Pokharna, 31, said he commented on the social media account of a news portal on June 28 as part of a report on the beheading of Kanhai Lal in Udaipur, Rajasthan, and the arrest of two people for hate crime. The next day, he found a threat made by Muhammad Faysal, who wrote that “Gustak is the messenger of ki ek saga, sir Tan Si Ghota (the offenders of the Prophet will be beheaded)”.

Pokharna said he obtained security from the armed police since June 30 after he complained to Surat police. Pokharna, the son of two doctors in the city, said he has moved his family members to undisclosed locations.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Pokharna said, “They started attacking me on social media with bad words. Muhammad Faisal later deleted his comment and also deactivated his account. However, other trolls were supporting Muhammad Faisal’s comment. I complained to the police about The danger to my life. They gave me good support and security cover. I hope the police will catch the accused.”

In the second incident, Vinod Jain, a former organizer of a BJP media cell in Surat allegedly started receiving threatening messages and WhatsApp calls after he and some Hindu priests submitted a memo to the district collector on June 17 claiming to support the arrested BJP spokesperson .

“I started getting threats on social media for my support of Nupur Sharma. Two days ago I got a WhatsApp call from an international number and the caller threatened me with my life. He told me: “Sudhar jao, warna anjam ke liye tayyar raho. (Fix your ways, or be prepared for the end.) “I handed over all the social media details to Surat Police and asked them to arrest the culprits,” said Jain, who is also the organizer of the NGO Rashtrasina.

Sharad Singhal, Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime and Traffic), said the police had not yet registered a case in either complaint. We reached out to both complaints and began investigating the allegations they made. We have also provided security for Yuvraj Pokharna. We did not record any cases of the incident, but our teams are working hard using technical monitoring and intelligence.”

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