Two days after the alleged murder of a Dalit man in Malihabad, on outskirts of Lucknow, the authorities on Saturday said the five accused will be booked under the stringent National Security Act (NSA).
The SHO of local Malihabad police station has been suspended for negligence.
At Dilawar Nagar village, where the incident occurred on Thursday evening, the situation remains tense, with both sides accusing the other of starting the flare-up.
An FIR for murder has been registered, and three of five accused have been arrested.
On Saturday, a Superintendent of Police (SP) was posted for Lucknow Rural area, which has five police stations under its jurisdiction and so far was being headed by an ASP-rank officer, to strengthen policing in the area. In a statement, the UP government said Hridesh Kumar, who was posted at Lucknow CB-CID, will now be SP, Lucknow Rural.
I-G, Lucknow (Range), Laxmi Singh told The Sunday Express that SHO Siya Ram Verma has been suspended, as his negligence and dereliction of duty led to the incident.
On the sequence of events, she said, “On Thursday night, the accused came on bike and hit the victim. This resulted in an altercation. The injured (Ram Vilas) was taken to hospital, but succumbed on way. Prima facie, it appears the bike’s mudguard had punctured the victim’s stomach. An FIR was registered based on complaint from the victim’s kin.”
The FIR registered on the complaint of Arvind, the victim’s brother, stated that around 7 pm Thursday, Ram Vilas was irrigating the farm of another village resident when the five accused, “who had past enmity with Ram Vilas”, arrived on motorcycles and deliberately hit him with a bike. “When my brother protested, they started beating him. When others ran in to help, the accused made death threats and casteist abuses, and then fled. My brother later died of injuries caused by the beating,” the FIR, recorded in the early hours of Friday, stated.
It names Ghulam Ali, Mushtaqim, Mufeed, Shanu and his brother Guddu as accused.
On Friday afternoon, Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) was replaced by Section 302 (murder).
Ram Vilas’s younger brother Govind Prasad told on way to a hospital in Lucknow, “when I asked my brother who attacked him, he gave me five names, which were later mentioned in the complaint”.
Family members of the accused, and several others, have reportedly fled the village, and those still there denied the accusations.
Rashid Ali, 48, a resident, said: “The flare-up started when one Tabrez and his friend had a small accident, involving Ram Vilas. Tabrez then called these five men, later named in FIR. These men found that Tabrez’s friend had suffered injuries. They took him to hospital. The other side, meanwhile, took Ram Vilas to hospital…he died. Around 9.30 pm, some 200 or 300 of them gathered and started abusing us. They entered Ghulam Ali’s house and set his bike on fire. They looted his house and broke the glasses of several homes.”
On allegation of a motorcycle being torched, Govind Prasad alleged that the accused themselves set it on fire “so that they can name us and weaken the case”.
Dilawar Nagar village has a population of approximately 1,500, half of them Dalits. Among the rest, around 30 percent are Muslims and the rest are OBCs and people from general caste.
Malihabad Circle Officer Syed Naimul Hasan, also investigation officer in the case, said postmortem report says the victim had lacerated wound along with internal injuries, which caused death. Lucknow District Magistrate Abhishek Prakash said financial help of Rs 5 lakh was given to Suman Devi, wife of the deceased, along with offer of a house under the rural housing plan, widow pension, and old age pension to Ram Vilas’s father.