A prime witness in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots case was found dead near his house in the district’s Sikheda village Saturday.
The body of Sodan Singh, 58, was found hanging from a hook near a tubewell. While police suspect it to be case of suicide, Sodan’s son Ravinder alleged his father was murdered.
An FIR was lodged on the basis of a complaint filed by Ravinder against four people, including two brothers of a minor girl on whose complaint Singh had recently been booked for sexual harassment, on murder charge.
Police said Singh was the key witness in the murders of Jat cousins Sachin and Gaurav at Kawal village in August 2013, which was followed by large-scale riots in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining districts. At least 62 people were killed and thousands displaced in the riots.
He was also an accused in an attempt to murder case lodged in connection with an alleged attack on a Muslim man, three days after the Jat cousins were killed.
SHO of Sikheda police station Sarvesh Kumar Singh said, “Sodan Singh was named in a case for allegedly molesting a 10-year-old girl around 20 days ago, but he could not be arrested as he obtained stay from the high court…The post-mortem report stated that the death occurred due to ante-mortem hanging.”
Muzaffarnagar SSP Sudhir Kumar Singh said that so far they have not found any evidence indicating it was a case of murder. “Singh was a witness of the prosecution and his testimony had been recorded. He was not an accused in the riots case, but other cases were pending against him.” Asked about his family’s allegations, he said: “…The complaint stands expunged since the post-mortem report confirmed no signs of struggle and (that it was) purely a case of death by hanging.”