Army jawan made friend paint ‘PFI,’ staged assault: Kerala Police

Army jawan made friend paint ‘PFI,’ staged assault: Kerala Police

By: vivek j&
September 27 2023

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Army jawan made friend paint ‘PFI,’ staged assault: Kerala Police

(Source: X/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)

Days after an Army jawan alleged that he had been assaulted by a gang and the word ‘PFI’ - referring to banned Muslim outfit Popular Front of India - was painted on his back, a police investigation found he had staged the incident with a friend. 

The Kadakkal police in Kerala’s Kollam district had opened an investigation on Monday, following a complaint by an off-duty Army jawan called Shine Kumar, who was serving in Rajasthan and was on leave in his hometown, Kadakkal. Kumar alleged that the assault had occurred on Sunday night, a day before he was scheduled to return to his posting in Rajasthan. 

The jawan alleged that he was lured to a forest near his home, where he was attacked, tied up, and that the assailants wrote “PFI” on his back using green paint. 

Kadakkal police took the jawan, and subsequently his friend Joshiy, in for questioning on Tuesday.

Findings of the police investigation

On September 26, the Additional Superintendent of Police from Kollam Rural R. Prathapan Nair informed the media that the initial complaint filed by the jawan in Kadakkal was fake. “The accused (Shine Kumar) and his friend, were the culprits behind this incident. (They) have been arrested after questioning,” Nair said.  

Nair added that they have been charged with trying to instigate communal violence, conspiracy, providing false statements, and filing a false complaint. He also noted that the jawan intended to attract national attention and hoped to get posted in “good positions that he desired.”

Regional media outlets have published a video of Joshiy admitting to the police that he initially misheard and painted DFI on Kumar’s back, later changing it to PFI after confirming with the jawan. Joshiy alleged Kumar had also asked him to beat him up, but he refused to do so as he was intoxicated but later agreed to tape his hands instead. In the video, Joshiy noted that they were both drunk when this incident happened, and claimed that his friend did it to become famous.

A local reporter from Kollam told Logically Facts the duo had been taken to the scene of the alleged assault by the police. A video of police officials taking Kumar and Joshiy to the spot can be seen here.

Several videos and photos of the jawan with ‘PFI’ written on his back had surfaced on social media (archives can be seen here, and here). Several outlets, including news agency ANI, India Today, Hindustan Times, News 18 Kerala, NDTV, Times Now, and Live Mint, reported on the alleged assault on the jawan. Karnataka MLA CT Ravi and Kerala Bharatiya Janata Party President K Surendran also shared reports on their verified X profiles, links to which are archived here and here.  

While the NDTV report has since been updated with the recent developments, Hindustan Times, Times Now, and India Today have published fresh reports. ANI has not updated the report at the time of writing this article, and the news agency has not published any fresh report.

Screenshots of initial news reports on the incident. (Modified by Logically Facts)

Speaking to News 18 Kerala on September 25, the jawan claimed he was going to his friend’s house to return some money at around 11.00 p.m. on Sunday. According to him, a few men lured him to a nearby forest where he was assaulted by a group of men.

He also noted that he couldn’t see the assailants’ faces as it was dark. Later, they allegedly tore his shirt and wrote something on his back. The jawan claimed he didn’t know what was written and came to know it was ‘PFI’ when one of his neighbors took a photo of his back and showed it to him. 

Kadakkal Police Station Sub-Inspector Binil V.S. confirmed to Logically Facts that the police would seek custody of the two for further questioning. “The investigation is still ongoing, and according to what we know so far, only two people are involved in the conspiracy. Once we get them in custody for further questioning, we will determine if any others are involved,” he said. The officer also told us that the paint and brush used to paint on the jawan’s back were recovered from Joshiy’s house. 

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