In what is the first admission of firing by Uttar Pradesh Police during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in the state, senior police officers in Bijnor confirmed that a civilian Mohammad Suleman, 20, died after he was shot by constable Mohit Kumar in “self-defence”.
“One cartridge was retrieved from Suleman’s body. The ballistic report confirms that this was shot from the service pistol of Mohit Kumar. Mohit Kumar also suffered a bullet injury. The bullet taken from Mohit Kumar’s stomach was found to be shot from a country-made weapon,” Sanjeev Tyagi, Superintendent of Police, Bijnor, told The Indian Express.
Suleman was in his final year of graduation and was preparing for UPSC exams at his maternal uncle Anwar Usmani’s place in Noida. He had come to Nehtaur since he was down with high fever.
Mohit Kumar is attached with Bijnor Police’s Special Operation Group (SOG). On Friday, he was deployed in Nehtaur police station area for security arrangement.
He is currently undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Bijnor. Doctors said his condition was critical.
As many as 26 persons including 20 policemen were injured in the violence last Friday. While Suleman and another person Anas, 21, died, Mohit Kumar and three other policemen including Rajesh Singh Solanki, Station House Officer, Nehtaur police station, suffered bullet injuries. The Nehtaur police station has lodged three FIRs based on Friday’s incidents, naming 35 persons and several others who remain unidentified.
According to Bijnor police’s initial report, the mob snatched one Sub-Inspector Ashish’s service pistol during the protest. Seeing this, a few policemen including constable Mohit Kumar chased the mob. “When Mohit got close to Suleman, the latter opened fire with his country-made pistol. A bullet hit Mohit’s stomach. In reply, Mohit also fired from his service pistol and the bullet hit Suleman’s stomach,” said Tyagi.
The police, however, did not find any weapon on Suleman. Neither have the police been able to locate Ashish’s service pistol.
The police recorded statements of other policemen, then present at the spot, and local residents to verify the information. “Preliminary investigation revealed that Mohit shot Suleman in ‘self defence.’ The investigation of the case is still on,” said Tyagi.
Suleman’s family, however, said he was returning from a mosque after offering namaz when the police picked him up. They took him into a lane near a madrasa and shot him. When the family reached the spot, Usmani claimed, they were not allowed to take the body. The police took it straight to Bijnor for the post mortem. “When the family reached Bijnor, they were sent back and called again at 11 the next morning,” he said.
Suleman’s elder brother Shoaib Malik said he faxed a complaint on Monday to SP SanjeevTyagi, and Ramit Sharma, Inspector General, Moradabad Range, requesting an FIR be lodged into his brother’s murder. The police said they were yet to receive a complaint. “If Suleman’s family files a complaint, we will look into the matter legally,” said Tyagi.
The family of Anas, 20, who also died in the violence, said he had stepped out to get milk for his seven-month-old son when the police shot him from more than hundred metres away. He was the eldest son of Arshad Hussain, a tailor, and worked as coffee and juice maker with caterers at local events.
According to Risalat Hussain (brother of Arshad Hussain), his nephew Anas was shot in front of his house around 3:30. “There were no protests in these lanes where Anas was shot,” he said, and claimed that the police was forcing them to write that Anas was part of the protests.
Both Anas and Suleman have been buried on Saturday in villages 20 kilometres from Nehtaur.