UP: 12 Policemen Booked in ‘Fake Encounter’ of Muslim Farmer Over Alleged Cow Slaughter
Lucknow: Sixteen months after the death of a 40-year-old farmer in an alleged fake encounter with police in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district, a case has been registered against 12 police personnel on the orders of the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court (CJM), Saharanpur, the police confirmed on Monday.
The police have been accused of conducting a fake encounter. Based on the complaint of the victim’s wife, the court ordered the registration of a case against 12 police personnel, including three sub-inspectors, two head constables and seven constables.
Vipin Tada, Senior superintendent of police (SSP), Saharanpur, confirmed that a case had been registered against 12 cops on January 22 (Sunday) in Deoband police station on the orders of chief judicial magistrate Anil Kumar.
The case has been registered against sub-inspectors Omveer Singh, Yashpal Singh, Asgar Ali, head constables Sukhpal and Kunwar Bharat, besides constables Pramod Kumar, Vipin Kumar, Rajbeer, Devendra, Neeta Yadav, Brajesh Kumar and Ankit Kumar of Deoband police station. They have been charged under sections 147 (for rioting), 148 (for rioting armed with deadly weapons), 149 (for offence committed in prosecution of common object), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving information to screen offender), 307 (for attempt to murder), 302 (for murder), 342 (for wrongful confinement) and 120B (for criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
THE CASE AND ZEESHAN’S Death
On the intervening night of September 4 and 5 in 2021, the Saharanpur police claimed to have raided thickets in Thithki village after a tip-off on alleged cow slaughter. Zeeshan Haider (45), the deceased, a native of the same village, was picked up by the police for ‘interrogation’.
“My husband received a telephone call at midnight of September 4, 2021. He went down despite being down with a fever as cops had come to take him for some inquiry. He was assured that he would be released immediately after the inquiry, but half an hour after he left home, his whereabouts could not be traced as his mobile was switched off,” Afroz Alam, the deceased’s wife, told NewsClick.
The next morning, two cops landed at the house of Ishan Raza in Deoband and said that Zeeshan had received a bullet injury on his thigh and was admitted to the Deoband government hospital. Ishan and other relatives visited the government hospital, where they were told that Zeeshan had been shifted to Saharanpur district hospital. When the family reached the district hospital, they found that Zeeshan’s body had been kept in the mortuary.
Afroz said their fight for justice will continue until those responsible for her husband’s ‘cold-blooded murder’ are punished.
“It was a pre-planned murder. I never imagined that he was not being taken for interrogation but for an encounter. Who will bring back my husband?” asked Afroz.
However, the police denied having fired at him. They had claimed that an encounter took place between them and alleged cattle smugglers in the jungle of Thithki village under Deoband police station area. Zeeshan suffered a bullet injury when some of his aides opened fire, which pierced through Zeeshan’s leg, leading to his death.
Police also claimed to have seized meat and weapons from the village.
The police then registered a case against the deceased Zeeshan, Aseel, Matloob, Javed and two more under sections 147, 148, 149, 307, 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and relevant sections of the Arms Act. Ishan alleged that police killed Zeeshan in a fake encounter and registered four cases against him on the day of his killing in order to declare him a criminal.
Earlier, seeking justice, Afroz had appealed for justice to the Chief Minister, National Commission for Minorities and Human Rights Commission, including the Union Home Minister. An application in the CJM court in November 2021 under Section 156(03) of the CrPC was filed, accusing the police officers of killing her husband.
She later moved the Allahabad High Court, and after hearing her plea, the court directed CJM Saharanpur to examine the case. After hearing pleas of both sides, the CJM court passed the order to register a case against the ‘errant’ cops on January 19.
Chowdhary Jannisar Ahmed Lawyer Janisar Ahmad, who is representing Zeeshan’s family told NewsClick, “It has been a long and arduous journey for the victim’s wife Afroz, to reach this stage. Zeeshan belongs to a well-off family and had two arms licences in his name. He died in police firing in September 2021. Since then the action under 156(3) was pending with the CGM. An FIR has been registered against 12 including three sub-inspectors.”
The lawyer further added, Zeeshan was a farmer and he had about 40 bighas of land. “Not a single case was registered against him till his death. He did not have any criminal background, he also got two gun licenses from the Saharanpur District Magistrate.”
POLICE REPORT ‘ERRONEOUS’
The police had claimed that Zeeshan was shot in his leg, while according to the medical report, he was shot in his thigh. The medical report stated that he died due to excessive bleeding.
Saharanpur’s Senior Superintendent of Police, Vipin Tada said that a case has been registered on the orders of the court. The matter will be investigated impartially, and strict legal action will be taken against the accused.
According to the official state data, since the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government came to power in Uttar Pradesh in March 2017, the number of encounter killings has increased in the state.
About 37% of persons killed in “encounters” carried out by the UP Police in the past three years were Muslims.
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