Sonbhadra: Twenty-five-year old Hasnain Anwar Seikh has been running from pillar to post to get justice for his father, Anwar Ali, who was lynched by a mob in Parsoi village of Sonbhadra district in March 2019.
Hasnain told NewsClick that two Holis have passed but officials and authorities have not even moved an inch to investigate the matter while the family has been suffering.
“We are poor people and we had to be displaced from Parsoi to Obra town, only because we were in fear and being pressurised by those who lynched our father to remove the Imam Chowk,” he said. Imam Chowk is a holy Islamic structure which houses the Taziya.
Hasnain said that ever since his father died, the family hardly visits the village. However, his mother still lives in the house since it was built by his father.
“She wants to live with those memories. My mother is scared that someday a mob will come and damage the Imam Chowk, the same way as it happened when my father was killed,” he added. Hasnain said he feels someone has “cursed” their village because such incidents never happened earlier and that people lived peacefully in the area. “But now, people are against us. They do not want to see us and these are the same people who I have grown up with and played with in my childhood,” he said.
Anwar alleged that everything that has happened was because of Ravinder Kharwar, the primary accused in his father’s lynching, who happens to be a teacher at state-run school.
“He was not arrested or even taken into custody for interrogation. He was running the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) shakha here in the village when my father was lynched. He is an influential man who has good connections with politicians. He even managed to get a transfer at a primary school in a different block of the same district where he has been going to teach kids regularly,” Anwar claimed.
NewsClick visited the primary school in Chopan Block and locals confirmed that Ravinder Kharwar was indeed teaching there. However, since it was Sunday, the school headmaster was unavailable for comment and the school register was beyond access.
When asked about the progress in the case, the district police office (S.P. Office) said they would have to look into their books. At the time, a case was registered against 19 people under Section 147, 148, 149, 295 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the Obra police station. Thirteen people, including minors, were taken into custody for interrogation but later released.
Ali’s post-mortem report, which was accessed by NewsClick after his lynching clearly mentioned that Anwar Ali was attacked with a sharp-edged weapon and multiple injuries were found on his body. However, the then Superintendent of Police (SP), Salmantaj Jafertaj Patil, was adamant on investigating the matter as a murder, stressing that a dispute between the two communities had been ongoing for six months prior to the lynching.
From ‘Victim’ to a probable ‘Threat’
In what can be termed as a shocking step, the district police slapped the victim’s family with a notice under Section 111 of The Code Of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), saying that they could pose a threat to peace in Parsoi. The notice was issued by the Sub-District Magistrate and delivered by the police.
“After receiving the notice, us brothers have to go to the SDM office and mark our attendance. It also affects our livelihood because we are carpenters and we lose our work whenever we have to go. We do not know what crime we have committed,” he said.
No compensation or relief
Anwar claims that the SDM and the district administration announced a compensation after his father was lynched. However, when he went to the officer’s office, he was turned down saying no such announcement was made.
“SDM sahab turned us away saying he did not make any announcement. On the next day after my father was killed, he actually told us that we would get some compensation from the administration. We only wanted justice for my father but why were false claims made by the administration? It would have been good had we got some compensation because a lot of our hard-earned money is going to advocates to get justice for my father,” said Anwar.