Just after the dusk fell on Friday, Mohammad Shareef saw his 30-year-old son, bleeding with a wound in his stomach, brought to their home in Kanpur’s Begumpurwa area on a vegetable cart by a group of children from the neighbourhood.
“He (Mohammad Raees) bled all night. We tied a shirt around the wound. He kept telling us that the police shot him. He was shot in the stomach,” said his 58-year-old mother Kismattun Nisha on Monday, hours after he was laid to rest in a nearby graveyard.
“Only the next morning, we took him to a hospital in a private vehicle,” she added. His parents said that they did not take Raees to the hospital immediately after he was brought home as they were afraid. “Hum dehshat mein thhe (We were terrified),” said his 61-year-old father, who still works as a daily wage labourer.
“People told us that if we take our son to the hospital, police will lodge cases against other members of the family for rioting,” a shaken Shareef said.
“If he was taken to the hospital on Friday night itself, he could have survived,” said Raees’s brother-in-law Mohammad Arif (28), who also is a daily wager.
According to the family, Raees, who used to sell papads, had gone for Friday prayers at Eidgah mosque, which became the centre of the protest against the new citizenship law in Kanpur.
Raees is the third person to have succumbed to injuries in the protest at Eidgah mosque.
“Since I was not there, I don’t know what happened, but my son told me that he was killed by police… We were told it was a rubber bullet. We did not know it was a real bullet. On Saturday, we took him to the hospital and he died there on Sunday… We can’t fight the police. We have lost our son and can’t do much about it,” his father said.
“My other sons don’t live with me. He was the only one who would take care of his parents by giving us whatever money he could make…” Shareef, a father of seven — four sons and three daughters — added.
Police, meanwhile, said that Raees died as he had Hepatitis B. “Doctors said that Raees was Hepatitis B-positive. They told us that if he wasn’t, he may have survived.” SHO of Babupurwa police station, Amit Tomar, however, said he was yet to see the post-mortem report.
The parents, however, denied having any knowledge of Raees being Hepatitis B-positive. “I did not know about it. He had no disease as far as I know,” Shareef said.
Meanwhile, outside the Eidgah mosque, there are several damaged cars. Several women residents of the area have accused police of beating them.
Thirty-five-year-old Ghazala Sabiha Hashmi, a student of law at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Law in Kanpur, said that she was pulled from her house by policemen and taken outside to a spot outside the Eidgah mosque where they assaulted here. “I have some injuries which you can see,” Hashmi said as she showed her injury marks on her hands and knees.
“They pulled me out of my house. I did not know what was happening outside. The others in the neighbourhood who knew had left their houses and gone to safer places,” said Hashmi, adding that many women, who were beaten up by police that day, would not speak up “because they are scared”.
Another woman, in her 30s, who did not wish to be identified, said, “I was assaulted. They wanted to scare us, and we are scared now. All the men were taken away and locked up at police stations… A few of them are still in custody,” said the woman.
When asked about the allegations, SSP (Kanpur) Anant Deo said, “The allegations are not true. If women were beaten up, they can complain to me, the DM or any official… I have not received any such complaint till now.”
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