A hand grips his torn, blood-stained kurta, while two others hold him. He identifies himself as Samiuddin and shakes his head when he is accused of trying to slaughter cows. He is then threatened with dire consequences if he does not speak the truth. “We are not slaughtering them,” he says only to have his beard grabbed and pulled. He is then slapped across his face and hit in the abdomen.
This is what a second video of the Hapur lynching on June 18 – the incident that left a cattle trader, Qasim dead and Samiuddin critically injured – shows. The minute-long video surfaced on social media Saturday and contradicts the Hapur Police stand that the lynching was not connected to cows or cattle. So far, police have insisted that the lynching was the fallout of a road rage incident.
Asked about the new video, Hapur Superintendent of Police Sankalp Sharma said: “We are trying to check the authenticity of the videos and once they are verified, we will make them a part of our investigation. The FIR has been filed on the basis of the complaint that we had received from the victim, Samiuddin’s younger brother Yasin.”
The new video comes a day after the families of the victims alleged that the FIR was not registered “as per our choice”. According to the FIR, Qasim and Samiuddin were hit by a motorcycle and a scuffle had ensued, which led to the attack on the two men. The Indian Express had reported on June 19 that no motorcycle was recovered by the police from the scene of the crime and that families of the victims and two men arrested had said that the lynching stemmed from a “cow-related matter”. The report also mentioned that a local, Sudhir Rana, was asked by police to shelter two cows and a calf for one day immediately after the lynching.
Sharma said the FIR was only the start of the investigation. “They have been lodged under the strictest possible sections of the IPC for murder, attempt to murder and rioting. The FIR is just the start of the investigation, as more development in the investigation takes place, the necessary sections will be included. Two people have been arrested so far and efforts to arrest the others are underway. More people have been identified,” he said.
Police have arrested two men Yudhishtir Singh and Rakesh Sisodia from Baghera Khurd village. The new video starts with a question: “What is your name?” When Samiuddin identifies himself, he is asked to identify the others allegedly with him. “Tell us quickly,” a voice asks. Samiuddin utters Qasim’s name before he is asked to identify “a fourth person”. Six times.
“He has a buggy and he limps,” Samiuddin replies, breathing quickly and deeply. “What were you doing?” he is asked. “They had cornered cows,” he says before being interrupted by a voice which says, “For slaughtering.” It does not seem like a question but Samiuddin shakes his head only to be hit in his stomach and slapped. His beard is grabbed and pulled as he requests, “Listen to me…”