Soon after Sadhu Magar – an autorickshaw driver in Pune – offered a free ride to those who go to watch the film ‘The Kerala Story’ Islamists in the country and abroad started issuing threats to him on phone calls and WhatsApp messages. Sadhu Magar was abused on WhatsApp messages from international numbers.
On 2nd May 2023, Sadhu Magar’s image with a banner on his autorickshaw declaring his offer of free services to those who go to watch the film ‘The Kerala Story’ went viral. Immediately after that, he started receiving phone calls congratulating him for the bold move. With the calls boosting his confidence, he also started receiving threatening calls from various Islamists from different parts of the country and abroad. He then listed those phone numbers, blocked them, and reached the Alandi police station where police officer Godse received his complaint. Even when in the police station, Sadhu Magar received two threat calls. As he was in the police station, he handed over the mobile phone to the officer who then listened to the abuse and confirmed that Sadhu Magar is indeed getting threats.
OpIndia spoke to Sadhu Magar to know more about this. He said, “Many people liked my decision to provide free services to people for going to watch the film that shows the reality of love jihad. Many people called me to praise me and congratulate me. As the phone number was displayed on my autorickshaw and the viral image, many people took cognizance of that and the news spread.”
He further said, “However, as I went on to receive calls from unknown numbers and unidentified callers who praised me, I also received some calls from unknown Islamists who seemed outraged at my decision. They abused me. Two days ago, there was an hour when my phone was continuously ringing and every call I received started with filthy abuse. One of them even said ‘You know what happened in Udaipur with that tailor? You will meet the fate of Kanhaiya Lal’. Then I took it very seriously and went to the Alandi police station and lodged a complaint. I submitted at least 15 different phone numbers to them. Some of the phone numbers are from different states in India. Other phone numbers are from other countries like Saudi Arabia. I have also received abusive WhatsApp messages from international phone numbers. The threateners did not tell their names but I could see Muslim names as True Caller application is active. Two such threat calls were received when I was in the police station. The police officer Godse received these calls and listened to the kind of threatening stuff I was receiving from the other end. He then took a detailed written complaint from me.”
Sadhu Magar added, “Till now I used to do the Dharma Karya alone, but when I went to the police station to lodge the complaint, some local youths from a Hindu organization voluntarily accompanied me, which was a very assuring thing. I felt that I am not alone, my friends are with me. Also, certain media has published my news in positive spirit, because I want people to watch good films based on social issues. It motivates me to do good.” The police visited Sadhu Magar’s residence in the afternoon and got more information from him about his work and social activities.
Sadhu Magar’s photograph went viral on social media on 2nd May 2023. In this photograph, he is standing near his autorickshaw on which he has flagged a banner that promises free autorickshaw services for people going to watch the film ‘The Kerala Story’. He has also mentioned on the banner that he will buy tickets for the first ten women who avail of his autorickshaw service to go to watch this film.
Sadhu Magar hails from the Akkalkot town of the Solapur district in Maharashtra. He earlier used to work as a worker in a company in Pune. But three years ago, he bought an autorickshaw and started his own transport business as he always wanted to proudly own a business however small. He operates his autorickshaw in the Alandi and Markal areas of Pune.
Sadhu Magar gives free services to Indian Army soldiers and officers anywhere in Pune city. He also carries pupils to school for free. Whenever he sees poor people who don’t have any money, he gets them to their destination without charging anything.