Updated: January 6, 2020 7:02:45 am
Two weeks after Mohammed Suleman, 20, and Mohammad Anas, 24, were killed in Nehtaur during the violence that erupted after protests against the CAA and NRC, families of both victims are still struggling to register FIRs. Instead, police are set to name the two as accused in cases of rioting and violence.
Post-mortem reports of both Suleman and Anas state bullet injuries as cause of death. However, as reported by The Indian Express on December 24, authorities have admitted to only Suleman’s death in police firing, adding that they had opened fire in self-defence.
Nehtaur Police Station SHO Satya Prakash Singh told The Indian Express that Anas and Suleman’s deaths will be clubbed in the FIRs filed regarding the violence, and these have not been shared with the families as the two are “accused”. While neither was named in the initial FIRs filed regarding the December 20 incident, Singh said more names were being added as the investigation continues.
Bijnor SP Sanjeev Tyagi said Suleman had been an accused since “day one”, while he did not know the details of Anas’s case. Arguing that there could only be one FIR per incident, and hence all related events were clubbed together, Tyagi said that since the families’ complaints had been “officially received”, these were now “merged”, and a part of the probe.
Earlier, The Indian Express had reported that Kanpur police had decided to name 13 Muslims, including three minors, who suffered gunshot injuries during the protest in Kanpur on December 20, in FIRs registered over the violence. Kanpur SSP Anant Deo said those injured were present at the spot. “This can be taken as sufficient evidence to name them in the FIR.”
Suleman and Anas’s families had filed written complaints with police on December 28, and were given copies stamped ‘received’, which they have been told is all they need. The families said SHO Singh met them on December 27 and gave them two days to file an FIR, warning that otherwise these would be clubbed to one of three FIRs registered over the violence. However, they never gave a copy of an FIR in relation to the deaths.
In his complaint, Anas’s father Arshad Husain said his son was killed when he had stepped out out to get milk from his uncle’s house. Husain said “Ashish Tomar, City In-charge Nehtaur”, “Mohit Constable” and “two other policemen” “dragged Anas out of the lane, slammed him to the (ground) and Mohit and the two policemen pushed him under their feet and Ashish Tomar put the pistol in his hand to Anas’s eye and shot him”.
Husain said Anas died before they could get him to a hospital.
Demanding an FIR, Suleman’s brother Shoaib said in his complaint that he was returning from a mosque after Friday prayers when “SHO Rajesh Solanki, city in-charge Ashish Tomar along with Constable Mohit and three other policemen” “dragged him (Suleman) to… the lane in front of the madrasa near Ghaas Mandi and Constable Mohit on listening to his colleagues shot my brother and killed him around 2:15 in the afternoon”.
Suleman’s uncle Afzan Ahmed Usmani, a lawyer, said that on December 27, SHO Singh came to Suleman’s parents’ home and told them that “if you want to file an FIR, you have two days”. Anas’s uncle Risalat Husain said his family was also given similar notice by police the same day, and that police also told them that one of the cases of “stone-pelting, arson, lathicharge and firing by rioters had resulted in the death of your son”.
On December 30, the two families said, Bijnor SP Tyagi and District Magistrate Rama Kant Pande told them at the Nehtaur Police Station that no independent FIR would be filed in the two deaths and their complaints “would be merged with the existing FIRs”. But, Anas’s family said, the DM did tell them that the SDM of Dhampur was being made an “observer” and would conduct an inquiry and the families should provide evidence to them whenever called.
Nehtaur SHO Singh said the deaths were “part of investigation” and both the applications have been included in the probe. Asked why couldn’t the existing FIRs be given to the families if they were being clubbed, Singh said, “Right now they are the accused, why will we give them a copy of the FIR?”
The SHO also argued that there can only be one FIR per incident, which is why independent FIRs were not needed in the two deaths, and that they had given a stamped copy to the families saying they had received their applications to register FIRs. He claimed that the families had, in fact, come forward to file cases at police’s urging.
The SHO asserted that police had used “minimum force” to control the mob on December 20, and that cases of 20 to 25 rounds fired by protesters were recovered.
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