EVEN AS the Faridabad sessions court has begun recording of evidence in connection with the lynching of 15-year-old Junaid Khan on board a Mathura-bound train on June 22, 2017, the chargesheet has revealed that the prosecution has named 45 witnesses to prove its case. As per the chargesheet, key witnesses include Junaid’s brothers and friends — Hashim, Shakir, Moin, Mousim — who were present in the train; and only two other eyewitnesses — Yudhishthir and Mahendra — who were in the same coach when the incident took place.
The 400-page chargesheet, filed on August 23, claims that the two eyewitnesses, who are not related to Junaid, were present inside the coach but did not see Junaid being stabbed. Out of the six accused in the case, two — Naresh Kumar (26) and Rameshwar Das (53) — have been charged with IPC Section 302. While Rameshwar was arrested on June 28, Naresh was arrested from Dhule district in Maharashtra on July 8.
A resident of Khambi village in Palwal, 54-year-old Yudhishthir, in his statement to police, has claimed he was “sitting in one corner” when the train left Ballabgarh station. He also stated that “four-five boys” were present in the same coach and “were not allowed to leave the train by our village people”. “Then in the coach, we heard screams of ‘maar diya, maar diya’, so I stood up… some commuters told me that some boy stabbed Muslim boys with a knife. I saw a boy lying in a pool of blood… and two boys were holding him. Then the train stopped at Asaoti station so me and some other commuters changed our coach. I don’t know who stabbed with a knife,” the chargesheet claims.
Mahendra, 29, a resident of village Marauli, Hodal, in his statement, has claimed that he took the “EMU first Mathura shuttle from New Town Bata station after 7 pm” and that “when the train reached Ballabhgarh, seven-eight Muslim boys got into our coach and started saying ‘which one was it?’…suddenly the train moved and Gaurav (an accused) and his friends didn’t let the Muslim boys get down”.
According to the chargesheet, Mahendra also told police, “Then a fight began with another young commuter and a belt was used… it led to chaos on the train. And I moved back. Then a voice said, ‘chaaku maar diya, chaaku maar diya’ and there was screaming. I saw the boy who stabbed from the side but I cannot fully recognise him… neither do I know his name or address”.
The chargesheet adds that both Yudhishthir and Mahendra have mentioned Rameshwar’s role in the incident. Yudhishthir has told police, “This incident of abusing Muslim boys and using derogatory words because they are Muslims was started by Rameshwar.” Mahendra has allegedly claimed, “…this fight started with Rameshwar”.
On June 22, Junaid, his brother Hashim, and friends Moin and Mousim, were on board a Mathura-bound train, when a fight broke out with some passengers, who allegedly called them “beef-eaters”, flung their skull caps and beat them up. Junaid was stabbed to death.
As per the chargesheet, Hashim has told police, “…At Okhla station, 15-20 commuters got into our coach. The four of us were sitting in our seats and playing Ludo. These commuters asked us to move and started pushing us around. When I and my brothers objected, two started saying derogatory things to us for being Muslims…”
Hashim has also said, “When we tried getting off the train, two-three boys started beating us up and abusing us… and the rest of the people in the coach created a ruckus and didn’t let us get off. Us two brothers objected but by then the train had started moving and those who came to pick us up — Mujahid, Mousim aka Chunna and my elder brother Shakir — had also climbed on to the coach. When we objected again, two boys started giving religion-based derogatory abuses, started beating us up.”
Hashim added, “…One young man took out a knife and attacked us. First he attacked Shakir on his neck, chest and hand/arm. When… Junaid tried to save him, that same youth stabbed him several times… He stabbed me twice. There was one person who stabbed us but many who were holding us. There was chaos in the coach. When the train stopped at Asaoti, the person who stabbed us, and his accomplice, got off the train from the wrong side and ran away”.
Meanwhile, the six accused have refused Test Identification Parade, the chargesheet claims. Naresh’s disclosure statement recorded by the police under 161 CrPC and annexed in the chargesheet states, “…The Muslim boys started kicking me and I said, ‘if you beat me, I will stab you’. Then I took out the knife… and stabbed the legs of the boy kicking me. I stabbed him and his brothers mercilessly… The train stopped at Asaoti, so I got off.”
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