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Vendor held by UP Police: Death due to head injury, says autopsy

On Friday, the vegetable vendor was found dead, soon after he was picked up by police from a shop on the charge of violating Covid norms, and allegedly beaten severely.

Written by Asad Rehman | Unnao |
Updated: May 23, 2021 8:13:53 am
At Faisal Hussain’s home in Unnao on Saturday. (Photo: PTI)

THE CCTV at Bangarmau Police Station in Unnao shows Faisal Hussain, 18, being dragged by some unidentified people as he struggles to walk or stand. As two persons try to lift him, he repeatedly collapses. It is not clear whether Hussain is being taken from the police station or being brought there.

On Friday, the vegetable vendor was found dead, soon after he was picked up by police from a shop on the charge of violating Covid norms, and allegedly beaten severely. On Saturday, the postmortem put the cause of his death as head injury. The autopsy also found a severe injury behind Hussain’s ear and at least 12 contusions on his body.

While three police personnel have been charged with murder, asked if there had been any arrests, Unnao Superintendent of Police Anand Kulkarni said, “We will proceed as per the evidence present with us.”

Kulkarni confirmed seeing the CCTV footage, and said the injury near the ear had caused internal bleeding. “We will seek medico-legal advice and proceed with the probe accordingly,” he said.

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Police initially claimed Hussain had prima facie died of a heart attack. It was after the family and locals blocked a highway with his body till Friday midnight that the FIR was filed and Constables Vijay Choudhary and Seemavat, and home guard Satya Prakash, were charged with murder.

Kulkarni told The Sunday Express there was CCTV footage from both the police station as well as the shop in a vegetable market from where Hussain was picked. “It is clearly seen that when he comes to the police station, he collapses. He is then picked up. But he collapses again. Then some police officials give him water. This whole sequence of events is recorded in the CCTV footage. In the meantime, some of his family members come.”

The SP added, “I have also seen the CCTV footage of policemen slapping him at the shop from where he was picked up. They don’t hit him with sticks or anything else there.”

Elder brother Mohammad Sufiyan, 21, said Hussain was supposed to come home straight after the Friday prayers, but instead went to the shop. “Who would have thought that I would bury him today?”

Two kilometres from where the 18-year-old was buried, his crying mother Naseema Bano, 52, sat surrounded by relatives at the family’s two-room house in Mukriyana area.

Cousin Salman, who lives in an adjoining house, said Hussain was the sole breadwinner for the family of six, including his parents, Sufiyan and sisters Khushnuma, 28, and Rehnuma, 32. His father Islam Hussain has asthma and is frequently unwell. “Sufiyan has a disability in his right leg and requires regular treatment and rest,” Salman said.

The cousin added that eyewitnesses had told them police picked up Hussain for no reason. He showed on his phone the CCTV footage from the shop, just metres from the house. It depicts Choudhary and Prakash beckoning the 18-year-old, slapping him a few times and then driving away with him on a motorcycle.

Hussain ran the shop — no more than a small space — with Sufiyan since Islam started staying home due to his ailment.

Mohammad Laeeq, 26, a neighbour and also a vegetable vendor, said he saw police beating Hussain and taking him. “They came and asked him what time it was . He replied it was 2 pm. After that, they started slapping him… I am not sure why the policemen singled him out as others were present at their shops as well.”

In their complaint, the family said Hussain was beaten up mercilessly at the police station in the presence of Station House Officer. “When the family members reached the police station, he had been taken to the hospital and was left there, after which the policemen fled from there,” reads the complaint.

The family claims that while Choudhary and Prakash picked up the 18-year-old, Constable Seemavat took him to the local Community Health Centre (CHC) after his condition deteriorated. Khushnuma said that by the time the family reached the CHC, Hussain was dead. “How mercilessly did they beat him that he died immediately? He had no health issues and was barely 18. How can a healthy 18-year-old die suddenly?”

Circle Officer (Bangarmau) Ashutosh Kumar said they had received several complaints of violation of ‘Covid curfew’ from the Mukriyana vegetable market. “The policemen went there because of the complaints. A crowd was present, but everyone fled. Faisal was the only one who was caught and brought to the police station.”

The distance from the vegetable market to the police station is less than a kilometre. “We don’t know exactly how long Faisal was here at the police station, but it was not long,” Kumar said. “The CCTV footage at the police station will be a part of the investigation.”

Promising a fair probe, the Circle Officer said, “We will go through all the evidence, record statements of the persons concerned. Our sympathies are with the family. The incident is very unfortunate.”

The family has demanded at least Rs 1 crore as compensation and a government job. Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Bangarmau, Dinesh Kumar said the process had been initiated but the final decision will be taken by the state government. “We will send the proposal to the Chief Minister’s Office,” the SDM said.

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