The Supreme Court Monday issued notices to the Haryana government and the CBI on a plea by the father of 15-year-old Junaid Khan, who was allegedly lynched by a mob on board a train in June last year. The plea has sought a probe by the central agency into the incident, termed by the family as a hate crime because of allegations that the accused mocked the victim’s skull cap. A bench of Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar also stayed trial proceedings in the case pending before a Faridabad court. The father, Jalalludin, has challenged the Punjab and Haryana High Court order, which rejected his plea for a CBI probe.
The appeal contended that the investigation in the case was botched up. “The true nature of the crime has been subjected to cover up. The conduct of the named accused and others as a lynching mob has been concealed. It has been projected as if the occurrence/events were sudden, without any element of perpetrators having acted as in conspiracy or as an unlawful assembly,” he contended, adding that police avoided charging sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief).
“It is patently clear from reading of the challan papers that the above two mentioned offences and conspiracy to commit the said and the other offences were unerringly disclosed even by the motivated investigation. The investigating agency deliberately acted with undue haste because the crime had attracted huge nationwide outcry. The investigation was so managed as to minimise the damage to the marauders and to ensure that most of them are released on bail and face no serious trial at all,” it added.
Jalalludin alleged that ”the investigation was so manipulated as to give it the shape of a conflict or clash rather than a sinister one-sided hate attack on helpless victims. To achieve this nefarious objective, false witnesses were introduced, statements of real witnesses were arbitrarily recorded without actually eliciting information from them and material evidence was not taken into record.”
Junaid, his brother and two cousins were attacked on a Mathura-bound train by a mob, which also allegedly hurled communal slurs at them. Appearing for the appellant, senior advocate R S Cheema said, ”It is a hate crime which is generating this kind of violence. How can you not probe Section 153?” Cheema said that of the six named as accused in the case, only one was charged with murder, while four managed to get bail even before the trial started due to “infirmities introduced to the case”.
Jalalludin, in his plea, also said that “the crime perpetrated by the accused resulting in the death of Junaid and stab injuries to Hashim, Shakir as also beatings and humiliation to the other victims was essentially motivated by deep rooted communal hatred against the community of the victims, the same was well planned and essentially incorporates the element of criminal conspiracy…” The HC had dismissed Jalalludin’s plea earlier this month.