Two versions on first attack,15 suspects including the three dead,one arrest

According to Kumar,a scuffle followed and he saw Gaurav and Sachin being killed.

Written by Apurva | Muzaffarnagar | Published:September 19, 2013 3:43 am

The two FIRs lodged after the triple murder at Kawaal village narrate contrasting versions of the incident that ostensibly sparked violence across Muzaffarnagar. On August 27,Gaurav and Sachin had a quarrel with Shahnawaz,who was killed,after which a mob lynched the two.

The first FIR was lodged at 2.45 pm at Jansath police station by Gaurav’s father,Ravinder Kumar. It reads,“In the morning,while Gaurav was returning from school,his bike ran into one Mujassim’s bike and a verbal altercation followed. At 1 pm,I reached the spot and saw Mujassim and others present with knives.”

According to Kumar,a scuffle followed and he saw Gaurav and Sachin being killed. He said he ran to seek help,and the accused threatened to kill him and other witnesses. The FIR has the names of seven suspects — Mujassim,Shahnawaz and five others,among whom only one,Furkhan,has been arrested. The original FIR also had the name of Shahnawaz’s father,Salim,but it has since been removed.

Salim filed an FIR at the same police station at 9:30 pm the same day. This was after he had taken his son to the hospital where he died. The suspects in this FIR are Gaurav,Sachin and six others. The names of the two youths’ fathers,too,were initially included before being eventually removed. No arrests have been made thus far.

Salim’s FIR says,“The suspects came to Kawaal and entered Shahnawaz’s house,armed with knives and swords. They attacked and left him half dead at 2 pm.”

The police removed the names of the three victims’ fathers on September 8. “Both parties protested the inclusion of certain names in the FIR claiming they were not actually present. Muslims demonstrated on August 30,and Jats organised a mahapanchayat on September 7,” said a senior police official.

The mahapanchayat also protested against the alleged harassment of Jat women,which eventually “led to the killings”. Ravinder Kumar said,“Two girls were on their way from school on August 26,when they were harassed by Shahnawaz. Gaurav protested and an argument followed. The next day,I dropped him at school fearing an attack; the incident took place on his way back. We did not mention the harassment in the complaint as it would have brought dishonour.”

However,the alleged harassment of the two girls became the main topic of discussion at the mahapanchayat. When asked,police only said it was a matter of investigation.

Police sources said the investigation has thrown up contradictory versions of events. “While some say Shahnawaz was armed with a knife and attacked Gaurav and Sachin first,others claim it was these two who came armed. There is also information that Shahnawaz brandished a knife which the two wrested from him and killed him with. Others from Shahnawaz’s community then attacked the two,” an official said.

The day after the killings,a video supposedly showing the lynching of the two youths circulated through WhatsApp and the internet,inflaming sentiments. Investigations,however,revealed the video was at least two years old,and shot in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

2.45 pm,Aug 27

* FIR by Ravinder Kumar,father of Gaurav who was killed

* 7 names including Shahnawaz who was killed. This is after the removal of Shahnawaz’s father’s name on September 8

* 1 arrest (Furkhan)

9.30 pm,same day

* FIR by Salim,Shahnawaz’s father

* 8 names including Gaurav and Sachin (also killed). This is after the removal,again on September 8,of the names of Gaurav’s and Sachin’s fathers

* No arrests

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