The hashtags #SaveNapoleon, #SaveEBullJet, etc. are trending on Social Media in Kerala. You might be wondering what this E Bull Jet issue is. Here’s a brief look at everything you need to know about the E Bull Jet affair.
YouTubers Ebin Varghese and Libin Varghese, from Iritti in Kannur, run a YouTube channel called E Bull Jet. Known as the E Bull Jet brothers, they visit places in their caravan and post videos about their life. Their YT channel has 1.7M subscribers. They recently did modifications and repainting worth ₹2 crores (as per their video) to their Force Traveller, dubbed Napoleon.
This drew the attention of the authorities and the Motor Vehicle Commissioner ordered for the van to be seized. Napoleon was confiscated by the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) on the 8th of August 2021, and the brothers were asked to pay a fine of ₹42000. The list of violations included changing the colour of the vehicle, installing high-power headlights, applying body graphics, and attaching a bicycle posing danger to other vehicles on the road.
The brothers put out a video about the incident. Later that day, they put a post saying that they plan on quitting vlogging.
On the 9th of August, Kannur Police arrested the brothers for creating a ruckus at the MVD. The brothers had made an announcement that they were going to the MVD, and this led to crowds of fans gathering at the location and creating unrest. The brothers were detained and then arrested under 9 sections including the destruction of public property, using force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty and breach of COVID-19 regulations. They were produced before the Kannur First Class Judicial Magistrate Court and were remanded for two weeks.
What do the E Bull Jet bothers have to say?
In one of their videos, the brothers said, “They said we had to pay tax and submit the permit. Once we paid the money ,we could take it back. When we went to pay at an Akshaya centre, we found that the existing permit was valid for another one-and-a-half month. But someone had spread rumours about us and complained. We went to Kannur RTO, showed the papers and everything, and got the vehicle back. But once again while taking a video, the RTO officials came and took away the caravan, saying that we still had to pay more money.”
They claim that the MVD is harassing them.
What does the MVD have to say?
The MVD denied any wrongdoing. In a conversation with the New Indian Express, Motor Vehicle Inspector V T Padmalal said, “They altered and modified their van which is illegal. Though we tried to convince them about the official procedure regarding such violations, they started creating scenes unmindful of our explanations. We think it was planned as they had come with around 20 persons who tried to record their act from various angles.”
He went on to say, “Our report on their violations is not final. They could’ve challenged it at court. Instead, they tried to threaten us and enact a drama here.”
Kannur town station house officer Sreejith Koderi told the New Indian Express – “We got a complaint from the RTO regarding the brothers’ attempt to disrupt the proceedings at the RTO office. They also violated Covid protocol.”
The incident seems to have polarised Kerala’s social media. Flocks of fans have been posting content in support of the E Bull Jet brothers. They have even been posting comments with campaign hashtags under posts put up by Chief Minister Pinarai Vijayan. One fan even went on to say “Kerala will burn” (which has gone on to become meme sauce).
Fans also seem to have called Kollam CPI(M) MLA Mukesh and BJP Rajya Sabha member Suresh Gopi. Recordings of their conversations have gone viral.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are many who question if the rules of the land don’t apply to the E Bull jet brothers, and ask why they threatened officers. Others point out problematic elements in their content that promote homophobia and misogyny. A video of the brothers travelling through Bihar is also going viral. The video has the brothers using an ambulance siren to avoid traffic blocks and go past toll booths.
And that’s what the E Bull Jet issue is all about. Now you know!