Under heavy security cover, the village of Bisara in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri waited, on Wednesday, for some of its residents to return from Delhi’s Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) Hospital with the body of a 21-year-old youth, Ravin. Police personnel manned the village gates, the mosque, the local temple and other parts of Bisara. The scene was almost similar to the one witnessed in the village a year ago, in the days after its resident Mohammad Akhlaq was beaten to death.
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Many remained confined to their houses while several others took to the streets, organising rallies and burning effigies of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in protest.
Tension in Bisara escalated Tuesday night after news about the death of Ravin, one of the 19 men accused of killing Akhlaq, reached the village.
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As residents took out rallies, holding officers of the Gautam Budh Nagar district jail responsible for Ravin’s death and demanding their arrest, most Muslim residents of the village remained inside their houses.
“The rally covered the entire village. The participants were shouting slogans condemning (UP minister) Azam Khan and Akhilesh Yadav. The situation is very tense. Police personnel are present in the village but anything can happen. We have been advised not to step out. We are just being careful,” said a Muslim resident of Bisara on condition of anonymity.
Miles away, at the mortuary in LNJP, Ravin’s father Ranvir Sisodia said he had been waiting for his son’s body for almost 22 hours. “I came here Tuesday evening, after Ravin was brought here for treatment from the prison. I have spent almost a day here but my son’s body has not been given to me. Earlier, we came to know that he was unwell. He fell ill after a scuffle with some jail officials. We had asked the authorities to ensure that he gets proper treatment,” said Sisodia.
On September 30, Ravin’s lawyer Ram Saran Nagar had filed a petition in a local court. The plea stated that Ravin was suffering from “chikungunya fever and he has unbearable pain in his spine and other parts of his body”.
“…. The petitioner/accused is not being treated at the district prison hospital. In this situation, keeping in mind the future of the petitioner/accused, it is necessary that the petitioner/accused is shifted to the district hospital in Noida, Gautam Budh Nagar for treatment,” stated the petition.
According to Nagar, the court had instructed the jail superintendent to do the needful.
Ravin’s family claimed that while he was initially shifted to the district hospital in Noida, he was taken back to the prison, where his condition worsened. “He was at the Noida district hospital only for a few hours… then he was sent back to prison. On Tuesday morning, as Ravin’s condition worsened, he was referred to LNJP Hospital, where he died a few hours later,” said Sisodia.
Meanwhile, LNJP Hospital authorities said Ravin had died of “multi-organ failure of kidney and lungs”.
At 9 pm Wednesday, Ravin’s body reached Bisara, where angry villagers refused to cremate the body. “We are arranging for a deep freezer to keep the body… We want a CBI inquiry into the case. The jail officers who were behind his death should be charged with murder, suspended and arrested. The family should be given a compensation of Rs 1 crore and his wife should be given a government job. His widow should also be given a flat like Akhlaq’s brother, Jaan Mohammad, was given,” said Om Mahesh, a relative of Ravin and father of another accused, Vinay.
District officials said an inquiry was underway. “A judicial inquiry into the case is being conducted… we will take action on the basis of the facts which come to the fore in the inquiry,” said G B Nagar District Magistrate N P Singh, who also met Sisodia Wednesday morning.