This town of bangle and glass factories was among the worst affected in the recent protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Uttar Pradesh, which were met with a police crackdown. Of the 19 deaths in alleged police action in the state, six happened in Firozabad, apart from injuries to 75, including 18 policemen, on December 20.
The hospital version in most cases is that while the men carried bullet injuries, they had not found a bullet. Three of the victims were taken to Delhi’s AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospitals, while one is being treated for spinal injuries at Apollo Hospital in the Capital.
The Firozabad police has maintained that they didn’t fire a single bullet. In case of each of the six deaths, police told The Indian Express, they had registered a case and a Special Investigation Team (SIT) was probing.
Dr R K Pandey, Chief Medical Superintendent of S N Hospital, Firozabad, where three of the post-mortems were conducted, told The Indian Express, “In two bodies we found there was entry and exit of bullets but no bullet was found inside. The third case was of a head injury and no bullet marks were found.”
Firozabad Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Sachindra Patel said, “None of the bodies was taken to hospital by police. From two of the three post-mortems in Firozabad, we have got reports that there was entry and exit of bullets. We have not received reports of the three post-mortems conducted in Delhi.”
The SSP added, “We have registered FIRs in all six cases of death, under Section 304 of the IPC, for ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’ against unknown persons. Please note that the protesters were very aggressive that day, still police did not fire any bullet.”
Almost all the deaths happened around the Naini Glass roundabout in the town. While most of the glass and bangle factories in Firozabad are owned by Hindus, a majority of the workers are Muslims.
* Nabi Jan, 21
A resident of Mohammadganj under Firozabad South police station, Nabi was a worker at a bangle workshop on the town’s Urvashi Road and the youngest of six siblings. His father Ayub said he was shot in the chest. “Nabi was returning home from the workshop when he was shot. His friends brought him home, and we took him to S N Hospital, where he was declared dead,” Ayub said.
The FIR makes no mention of “bullet injury”, with Ayub saying they wrote “what police told us to write”.
Police said they had registered a case under Section 304 of the IPC. “Further forensic tests will be carried out to ascertain the truth.”
R K Pandey, Chief Medical Superintendent of S N Hospital, said, “We found the entry and exit of the bullet in his body but no bullet was found.”
* Rashid, 25
A resident of Kashmiri Gate under Ramgarh police station, Rashid was the eldest among four sons and two daughters of Noor Mohammed alias Kallu. Divorced from his wife, he was single parent to a daughter, 5. Kallu, 55, said Rashid was partially disabled, with his right hand smaller than his left, and earned Rs 150-200 per day serving water at bangle workshops. According to Kallu, on the day of the protests, Rashid had gone to collect his wages. “He had nothing to do with any protest.” Kallu accused police of forcing them to bury his body around 4 in the morning.
Police, who have registered a case under Section 304 of the IPC, said, “It seems he had head injury due to stone-pelting.”
However, Kallu said, “His brain had spilled out. This cannot happen due to stone-pelting.”
Pandey of S N Hospital, where Rashid was taken, said, “He had a serious skull injury but we did not find any bullet marks.”
* Arman alias Kallu, 24
A resident of Rehmat Nagar under Ramgarh police station, he worked as a labourer in local workshops. Said uncle Rafeeq, “Late evening of December 20, some neighbours told me Kallu was seriously injured and lying on the street. We immediately took him to S N hospital. His body was sent home and at 4 am on December 21, and police brought along a maulana and forced us to bury it immediately. Not even close relatives were allowed.” The 24-year-old had lost his mother just six months back.
The FIR mentions “bullet injury”.
Police said: “Based on the complaint of relatives, we have registered a case under Section 304 of the IPC. All further forensic tests will be carried out to ascertain the truth.”
CMS Pandey said, “We found the entry and exit of the bullet in his body as well, but no bullet was found.”
* Haroon, 30
The 30-year-old buffalo trader lived in village Mulla ka Nagla on the outskirts of Firozabad, falling under Matsena police station. The second among nine children, Haroon passed away at the AIIMS Trauma Centre in Delhi on December 26. Said his brother-in-law Zaqiuddin, “He was returning from the Pachokhara animal fair after selling a buffalo and was sitting in an autorickshaw when a bullet hit him.” Zaqiuddin added that Haroon was the main breadwinner in the family and “kept away from such disputes”.
The FIR makes no mention of a bullet injury, and Zaqiuddin said, “We wrote what police told us to write.”
Haroon’s medical report, though, mentions “Gunshot injury. As told by attendant”. AIIMS confirmed to The Indian Express that a bullet had been found in Haroon’s neck.
Police said: “We have registered a case under Section 304 of the IPC and now the SIT is constituted to take up further investigations of all cases.”
* Muqeem Qureshi, 18
A resident of Nagla Kothi under Ramgarh police station, Muqeem died at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi on December 23 night. The eldest of eight children of Mubeen, he did zari work on bangles for a living. Mubeen said Qureshi was returning from work when shot in the stomach, and was first taken to S N Hospital. “When doctors there denied him treatment, we took him to Agra, from where he was referred to Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital.”
Mubeen they were yet to get any medical papers. “We were told the documents had been handed over to police. We were given only a panchnama of the dead body.”
A source at Safdarjung Hospital said, “Patient had a gunshot wound. We noticed that bullet entered from the back and exited near the chest. But the bullet was not found in his body. He seems to have been fired from a powerful weapon and, in such cases, the bullet mostly goes through the body.”
Police said, “We have registered a case under Section 304 of the IPC and now the SIT is constituted under SP (Rural Area) Rajesh Kumar to take up further investigations of all cases as per the direction of the government.”
* Md Shafiq, 45
One of eight sons of Razzaq, Shafiq also worked at a bangle workshop. After initial treatment at S N Hospital for head injuries, he was taken to Agra’s S N Medical College and then admitted to Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi, where he died on December 26. His younger brother Md Sayeed said, “Shafiq was returning from the workshop and had tiffin in his hand when he was shot. Safdarjung Hospital did not give us papers and said these would be given only to police. Shafiq always kept away from any disputes.”
The FIR has no mention of a bullet injury but an X-ray done at Safdarjung mentions “gunshot wound to head”. Also an ‘NCCT Head (a standard radiologic test)’ conducted at Agra’s M B Jain Imaging & Pathology says, “Evidence of bony fracture by the gunshot is seen…”, and “Pallets are also seen in left temporo-occipital brain parenchyma & occipital horn of left lateral ventricle”. Another NCCT Head conducted at Agra’s Rainbow Healthcare says, “Case of gunshot injury shows a metallic foreign body in the soft tissue of left temoral region.”
A source at Safdarjung Hospital said, “Patient had gunshot wounds. We noticed bullet entry and exit in his head. The bullet was not found inside.” The source repeated that Shafiq was fired from a powerful weapon, explaining the absence of a bullet.
Police said, “We have registered a case under Section 304 of the IPC and now SIT is constituted to take up further investigations of all cases as per the direction of the government.”
* Avrar, 25
The 25-year-old was referred to Delhi’s Apollo Hospital from S N Medical College, Agra. His medical records, accessed by The Indian Express, show “multiple small metallic density foreign bodies” in D3 vertebra, while his MRI report talks of “multiple small metallic density foreign particles seen in right posterior chest wall”. The S N Medical College’s discharge slip mentions “suspected firearm injury”.
Brother Muqtalib said Avrar was returning home from the site where he worked as a construction worker when he got shot. “Police contacted us in Agra when Avrar was getting treatment there. Now the first priority is his treatment. Once he is discharged, we will file a proper complaint with police.”
Said police: “Cases are coming one by one as people themselves take the injured to hospital. They are approaching police because hospitals seek details from them. All matters will be investigated and necessary action will be taken.”