Nearly a month after he was “beaten mercilessly” by a mob, as another man was lynched, in Hapur district of western Uttar Pradesh, Samiuddin, 64, contested the police’s version of the incident, stating that the assault was the result of a road rage and maintained that the mob attacked them over allegation of cow slaughter. Samiuddin and two others – his brother Yasin, on whose complaint an FIR attributing the incident to road rage had been lodged by Hapur Police, and Dinesh Tomar, a witness to the June 18 attack in Pilakhuwa, Hapur – wrote to Meerut zone I-G Ram Kumar, demanding, among others, action against the area Circle Officer and Pilakhuwa police station officials for allegedly threatening to write a “false, baseless and fake complaint”.
Affirming the receipt of these letters through email, I-G Ram Kumar stated, “This will be enquired into.” On Saturday, Yasin alleged that he was made to sign a complaint after being threatened that his family members will be arrested on charges of cow slaughter. Tomar, meanwhile, alleged that the police had forced him to write a false complaint, which Yasin had been made to sign. The three marked a copy of their complaint letter sent to the I-G to the Hapur SP, and Meerut sone ADG.
Recounting the turn of events on June 18, they request the authorities:
to record Samiuddin’s version before a judicial magistrate;
initiate legal action against the Circle Officer and Pilakhuwa police station officials for allegedly threatening to write fake complaint;
arrest the culprits at the earliest and ask Samiuddin identify them;
initiate a “correct and true legal inquiry in the murder of Qasim and the attack on Samiuddin” by some men from Bajhera village.
The trio also wrote that they have no faith in the investigation being conducted by the local police. Samiuddin said, “I am afraid that after my true statement, those people from Bajhera village, who were part of the deadly mob, and policemen from Pilakhwa police station can cause injury and loss to me and my family.”
Recounting the June 18 attack, the 64-year-old told The Sunday Express: “Some distant relatives live in Paabi village and a death had taken place there. We had to go there. So I went to the fields with my neighbour Hassan to get fodder.”
A farmer who owns around five or sic bighas of farmland, Samiuddin has a buffalo and two calves. “I also look after 9-10 bighas that belong to my two brother who do not stay in our village. My livelihood is dependent on the agricultural produce – mostly wheat and paddy – and fodder for cattle,” said Samiuddin, his arms covered in bandages and a plaster holding the right leg. Around 11.30 am on June 18, as they smoked beedis along the field, he saw Qasim, a cattle trader from the locality, walking by. Suddenly, he said, around two dozen men came running in from Bajhera village. “Soon as they reached the fields, they starting beating Qasim. I intervened and asked what was up. They started beating me as well.”
“They pulled my beard, kicked and punched me. They told me that you slaughter cows. I said no…But they did not listen and took us towards Devi temple in Bajhera, beating us all the while,” Samiuddin said. “They beat us with wooden sticks, bats and hit us on the head with rocks in the fields…. I fell unconsciousness after a while.”
Samiuddin said he does not remember when the police reached but recalls that they took him to a couple of hospitals. As he fell in and out of consciousness, Samiuddin remembers hearing policemen talking about Qasim’s death, and noticing that his thumb impressions were being taken. “I was given some medicine and injection there and both my thumbs were stamped somewhere. I don’t know where all my thumb impressions were taken.”
Five days after 45-year-old Qasim was beaten to death and Samiuddin sustained severe injuries, videos and photographs of the incident emerged on social media, and were shared widely. In one video, a man identifies himself as Samiuddin and shakes his head when he is accused of trying to slaughter cows, while a hand grips his torn, blood-stained kurta as two others hold him. He is then threatened with dire consequences if he does not speak the truth. “We are not slaughtering them,” Samiuddin purportedly says, only to have his beard grabbed and pulled. He is then slapped across the face and hit in the abdomen.