Lucknow: In a shocking incident of mob violence, a 25-year old Muslim man was allegedly beaten to death by a mob on Monday in Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh in the name of 'Swachh Bharat'. He succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital late at night.
The victim has been identified as 24-year-old Suhail. A large contingent of security personnel has been stationed to avoid any flare-ups as tension mounted in the area after the alleged lynching.
The incident happened within the territorial limits of Khairi Dikoli police station late Sunday. Suhail was urinating in an open space in front of his uncle’s house when his neighbours — Ram Moorat, Aatma Ram, Rampal, Sanehi and Manjeet — allegedly objected to it and attacked him with bricks and sticks, according to the police. Suhail was seriously injured and started bleeding. He was rushed to the district hospital but was declared brought dead.
Three persons have been arrested so far in connection with the case, the police said. The body has been sent for conducting post-mortem examination.
A complaint has been registered at the local police station by the deceased's uncle against five identified and several unidentified people.
Speaking to NewsClick over the phone, the deceased’s relative on the condition of anonymity said, "My nephew was beaten mercilessly with stick, brick and punches by my upper caste neighbours not only for urinating in open space but for being a Muslim. Who has given rights to the people to lynch anyone in the name of Swachh Bharat?” He added, “If they had problems with his urination, they could slap him or scold him for his behaviour but taking his life is not justifiable.”
On receiving information on the incident, a team of senior police officials, including Additional Superintendent of Police - city, Kunwar Gyananjaya Singh, rushed to the spot. However, some locals claimed that the police were alerted immediately but they reached more than an hour after the incident had taken place.
The police maintain that it was not a case of “lynching”. Bahraich’s Superintendent of Police (SP) Vipin Mishra told NewsClick that local residents had said Suhail was beaten by his neighbours for urinating in open space despite their objection. "Some people are trying to label it a case of mob-lynching, but the situation was not so. This could not be independently verified from Suhail’s family. We will come to any conclusion only after a complete investigation," the SP said, adding that out of five accused, three have been detained in connection with the incident and efforts are being made to nab the remaining ones.
In another incident last month, a man accused of murder had been beaten to death in the presence of police by an angry mob in Kushinagar district. The incident led to outrage and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) sent a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government, asking it to explain the incident.
The Muslim bodies of Bahraich condemned the incident and demanded strict action against the culprits. Javed Ansari, a social activist based in Bahraich, said, "Lynching of Muslims in Uttar Pradesh is at its peak since the Yogi Adityanath government came to power. They are doing this under the patronage of the government, which is unfortunate.” He added, “It will not stop until the government intervenes directly as people target Muslims and Dalits on petty things because the attackers are confident that no action will be taken against them.”