A 17-year-old boy from Kashmir succumbed to injuries after he was assaulted by a co-worker in the early hours of February 5, police said on Friday. Basit alias Gulam Mohideen Khan, a resident of Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir, had finished work as part of a catering team at a wedding venue when he was assaulted. The son of an Armyman, he is survived by his mother, four sisters and a brother.
Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Gupta said one Aditya Kumar, a resident of Mau in Uttar Pradesh, was arrested, while two others are being interrogated. However, police have ruled out any lynching angle. “It is not as if the accused had planned the assault beforehand, nor was it motivated by religion or because he hailed from a particular state,” Gupta said.
Basit’s colleague and eyewitness Sufiyan, 19, who hails from Baramulla in J&K and on whose complaint an FIR was lodged at Harmara police station, said, “We work in catering with Faisal Khan, who is our contractor. On the days he has no work, he sends us to his friend Maslukh who gives us work. So that day, the two of us [Basit and Suifyan] went to work for Maslukh, who already had eight other people… Once it was done, we had our meal and proceeded to the vehicle outside [which was to drop us home].”
“As the driver was sleeping inside the vehicle, Basit knocked on the door. Then, one of Maslukh’s men, who was from Mumbai, asked Basit not to knock on the door… Basit said he was tired and wanted to sit inside. Then that man shoved him and held him by his collar. Then two others, who were with this man, held Basit… he was constantly hitting Basit on the head,” Sufiyan said.
“Once we reached home [in Jaipur’s Hasanpura], he (Basit) started crying, and said that his head is hurting. He also started vomiting,” he said.
Basit was then taken to the government-run Sawai Man Singh Hospital where, after a CT scan, the doctors said he had sustained injuries on his head and would require an operation. Basit, however, died at about 11 pm on Thursday.
Faisal Khan, the contractor said, “Kashmiri youths come here for work during holidays. This was Basit’s first time here…”
ACP Gupta said that the body was handed over to the family after a post-mortem, and that they left with the body for their hometown on Friday.
Kavita Srivastava, the Rajasthan president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, said PUCL will institute a fact-finding committee “as the hospitality and food business in Jaipur has over a thousand Kashmiri people and they are vulnerable.”
In Kupwara, one of Basit’s relatives said, “He had gone to Jaipur a few months ago because the family has a poor financial background. His father passed away several years ago… He was working as a caterer in Jaipur. We were informed two days ago he was unwell and today came to know that he has died,” said the relative.
Meanwhile, a J&K Police spokesperson on Friday said reportsof Basit’s lynching are “factually incorrect” .
“Basit was working in Jaipur as a caterer and had a fight with a co-worker. He was taken to hospital where he succumbed,” the statement said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines