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TWO men were beaten to death in a clash in Aligarh on Diwali day. Another man who received bullet injuries is out of danger. Heavy police force has been deployed in the area and senior police officials are camping in the city to maintain peace.
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While the police said 55-year-old Bindu Khan and son Mohabbat, 17, were killed in Aligarh’s Kaudiaganj locality following a dispute over parking, some residents said they had started the clash by objecting to bursting of firecrackers and opening fire.
The police announced the deaths only after midnight to ensure the situation didn’t escalate during the festival. The funeral was held under strict police security on Monday afternoon. An FIR of murder and disturbing peace has been lodged against nine named and several unidentified men.
Dinesh Kumar, 38, who was shot, owned the shop in front of which the Khans reportedly parked their bike.
DIG Rajendra Singh Yadav and Aligarh SSP Rajesh Kumar Pandey have arrived in the city. The area has a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims.
The SSP said Khan had gone with sons Mohabbat and Nehruddien to the local market, in an area dominated by Hindus, on Sunday afternoon. “When Dinesh objected to them parking the bike in front of his shop, one of the three men who was carrying a pistol shot at him. Hearing the sound of the firing, the local shopkeepers and public gheraoed the three and thrashed them with bamboos and stones. While one managed to flee, the other two were lynched,” Pandey said.
Nehruddien (28), the eyewitness to the incident, denied the charge of firing, and said he didn’t know what provoked the mob. He said the three of them had gone to the market to buy tiles. “My father and I stayed at the tile shop while Mohabbat went home to show a sample to our mother. He returned with a bleeding nose and alleged that Dinesh’s nephew Kapil had beaten him. We rushed to Kapil’s house to know what had happened, and even before listening to us, they stated thrashing us. I managed to flee but my father and brother could not. We heard that they were beaten with bamboos and stones for two hours. Even police couldn’t gather courage to enter the area to save them,” he said.
Dinesh’s mother Harpyari Devi claimed the clash erupted over bursting of firecrackers. As Bindu and his sons were crossing the lane outside their house around 2:30 pm on Sunday, she said, a child set off a firecracker. As the three objected, Kapil reportedly went outside to accost them.
“The three had abused the kid and were chasing to beat him up. Kapil reciprocated, and the clash turned ugly. The three also had firearms with them. When they took out their gun, Dinesh ran to save Kapil and was hit by the bullet,” said Harpyari.
She added that she didn’t know what happened next and how Bindu was killed as she left with Dinesh for hospital.
Irfaan Khan, the chairman of the Kaudiaganj Nagar Panchayat, claimed the two families had an ongoing dispute over some agricultural land but what happened on Sunday was shocking. “Bindu and his son were beaten up badly with lathis and slippers. Mahaul me tanaav hai magar meri koshish hai ki shanti bani rahe (There is tension in the air but I am trying to ensure that peace prevails),” said Khan.