New Delhi: Allegations of Uttar Pradesh police’s brutality, especially in Bijnor, where two people were killed, took a fresh turn on Monday, with reports saying that family member of one victim – Suleman – had lodged a police complaint against six policemen.
Suleman was allegedly killed in police firing during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests in Nehtaur on December 20.
On December 20, when violence erupted in the Nahtaur, a small town in Uttar Pradesh’s Bijnor district, Mohammad Anas (22) and Suleman (20) were allegedly hit by bullets fired by the police.
NewsClick had reported from Nehtaur that the family members of both the youths have alleged that when they rushed to the government hospital in Nehtaur, not a single doctor was available in hospital. Anas died on the way to Bijnor, while Suleman was declared dead soon after he was shot.
Later, the Uttar Pradesh Police admitted that their bullets killed only one (Anas), not Suleman. Suleman’s family has now filed a complaint against six policemen, alleging that he was shot dead by police bullets during the anti-CAA protest.
In the complaint, Suleman’s family has alleged that he was returning home after Friday prayers when he was accosted by Station House Officer (SHO) Rajesh Solanki, Bijnor in-charge Aashish Tomar as well as some constables.
The family claims that the police picked up Suleman from outside a mosque where a constable, identified as Mohit, shot Suleman at the behest of other police officers. They alleged that he was fired at close range as the bullet was lodged in his chest.
The complaint also claims that the incident was witnessed by many people in the area who had gathered to offer jumma namaz (Friday prayer) but were “frightened” to speak up against the police.
The police allegedly did not allow the family to bury Suleman’s body in his native village Nahtaur.
Suleman’s elder brother, Shoaib Malik, has also claimed that the police left him to die in the lane. When the family took him to a local hospital, he was declared dead, he said.
Speaking on the complaint against the police, Afzal Ahmed (Suleman’s maternal uncle), who is providing legal assistance to the family, told NewsClick: "Police has filed a case on its behalf against 'rioters'. When the District Magistrate of Bijnor and SP (Suprintendent of Police) asked us to register our First Information Report (FIR), we gave an application for FIR. They (police) told us that we will get a copy of the FIR by evening, but when we went there in the evening, they did not lodge our FIR. Instead, they clubbed our complaint with their FIR, which is against the anti-CAA protesters. It means 'Mera qatil hi mera munsif hai, Kya mere haq mein faisla dega (when my murderer becomes my judge, what justice will he serve?)"
According to Ahmed, their FIR has been not registered as yet and has not been uploaded online.
"We have named three cops in our FIR – the then Station House Officer (SHO) of Nahtaur police station, Rajesh Singh Solanki, sub-inspector Ashish Tomar and another policeman named Mohit. There were three others. They are under ‘unknown’ category. Mohit shot at Suleman. All six had been deployed at the site of a protest against the new Citizenship Act and several people reportedly witnessed the cold-blooded murder of my nephew," Ahmed said.
He further added that if the police refuse to file their FIR separately, they would move the High Court and, if need be, even knock the door of the Supreme Court. "We will fight against this injustice. If police do not lodge our FIR against their men, we will go to court under Section 156(3) CrPC. We will also go to the Supreme Court, if needed," he added.
Satya Prakash Singh, the new SHO confirmed to NewsClick that apart from Rajesh Singh Solanki, Ashish Tomar and constable Mohit, three other “unidentified” policemen have been named by Suleman’s brother, Shoaib Malik.
"There was no FIR filed by Suleman's family member as there can be only one FIR from an incident site. They have given only an application, which we have considered as a FIR and have clubbed it with the FIR filed by the police against rioters. Suleman's family has made an allegation against some cops and if they are found guilty, then action will be taken accordingly," Singh added.
BIJNOR SP ADMITS FIRING
After initial denials, the UP police had admitted that Suleman died from a police bullet and that he was among the alleged rioters who opened fire at a policeman from a country-made gun and that he was shot in ‘self-defence’.
Bijnor Superintendent of Police (SP) Sanjeev Tyagi had confirmed that Suleman had died after he was shot by constable Mohit in “self-defence”.
“One cartridge was retrieved from Suleman’s body. The ballistic report confirms that this was shot from the service pistol of Mohit Kumar. Mohit Kumar also suffered a bullet injury. The bullet taken from Mohit Kumar’s stomach was found to be shot from a country-made weapon,” Tyagi was quoted as saying by Indian Express.
However, the police could not recover the country-made gun from Suleman.
So far, 18 people have died because of the alleged violent protests against the new citizenship law in Uttar Pradesh, of which at least 14 reportedly died of bullet injuries.