Chandraprakash Sharma, the father of a six-month-old girl, was attending his cousin’s engagement ceremony in Palwal’s Khambi village on Wednesday night when police personnel interrupted the celebrations and took him into custody. Sharma and three others were arrested in connection with the murder of 15-year-old Junaid Khan on board a Mathura-bound train last week.
Along with Chandraprakash, “10-12 others” were picked up by Haryana Railway Police. “Between 1 and 2 am, police arrested anyone they could get their hands on. There were some boys, even a 16-year-old. We argued with police because they do not even take that train… How could they be involved?” Yudhishtir, a zila parishad member from the village, claimed.
Residents of Khambi village plan to hold a panchayat on Sunday to decide on the future course of action in the matter — “approaching courts, authorities, government and the general public” — to get justice.
Among the four men arrested was Pradeep Kumar, who is preparing for the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) examinations. His father, Prem Raj, said, “Pradeep used to go to the library near Bata Chowk to prepare for his exam. He would take the train home from there in the evening… I do not believe he had anything to do with this murder or fight. He, as well as the other boys, are being framed by police and the government.”
Suresh Bhargav, Chandraprakash’s cousin, said, “There is a lot of pressure on police to solve this case, and boys from our village have been made scapegoats…”
Others also reiterated this as they stood outside the courtroom in Faridabad on Thursday. “Confrontations in crowded trains are normal. Police should be looking at why it reached this point, and focus on where the weapon came from,” Santram Sharma, a Delhi Electricity Board employee, said.