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Meerut police crackdown: Relatives aghast as FIR names three dead

Ground zero: The Lisari police station in Meerut. Four protesters lost their lives in its jurisdiction.

Ground zero: The Lisari police station in Meerut. Four protesters lost their lives in its jurisdiction.  

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Post-mortem of a victim mentions bullet injury; family says doctors refused to treat gunshot wounds.

“I was offering namaaz at around 3 p.m. on Friday when incessant firing in the vicinity interrupted me. I immediately rushed downstairs to enquire whether my son Mohsin had returned home,” recalls Nafeesa Parveen of the fateful Friday.

An hour later Mohammad Mohsin, 28, was found lying outside a local restaurant barely 300 metres away from home, bleeding profusely in Meerut’s Lisari Gate area. He had allegedly sustained a bullet injury in the police crackdown on protesters against Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

According to eyewitnesses and residents of Lisari Gate, a large crowd had gathered outside the Baghwali mosque in the area after Friday prayers to demonstrate against the CAA, when policemen lathi-charged them. The protesters retaliated by throwing stones at the police, who responded with rubber bullets, tear gas shells and subsequently live rounds of fire.

 

While the families of the victims are unable to seek post-mortem reports or lodge police complaints, the police has lodged FIRs against at least three of the deceased and launched a manhunt for thousands of unknown persons named in the complaint.

Until December 25, Meerut reported a total of six deaths in the police crackdown — the highest number of casualties across various districts in Uttar Pradesh after the December 20 crackdown. The Hindu met with families of three of those killed — Mohammad Mohsin, Zahir Ahmed and Asif. The house of the fourth person killed was found locked.

Mohsin, a scrap collector, was rushed to a government hospital. But doctors there refused to attend to bullet injuries citing orders from the administration. Soon the youth succumbed to injuries, according to his brother Mohammad Imran.

His body was buried in a great hurry and under police pressure in the darkness of dawn the following day. “We were bathing Mohsin’s body and preparing for namaaz just before the funeral procession when there were loud knocks on our door, asking us to hurry up. The last rites were conducted at 6 a.m.,” recalls Nafeesa.

While the family shows pictures of Mohsin with a bullet injury and the local medical administration confirmed to The Hindu that there were deaths from gunfire, the police have refused to share the post-mortem report.

 

SP (Meerut City) Akhilesh Narayan Singh confirmed that the post-mortem report showed bullet injuries. . However, an SHO at one of the police stations said the deaths were due to “crossfiring”.

“What probe can we expect from the police against their own men,” asks a despondent Imran.

On the stretch outside the mosque, where local residents and police faced-off, residents point to a building and a shop bearing what look like bullet marks.

In the same neighbourhood, 32-year-old Asif also sustained bullet injuries during police action. He was rushed to four hospitals, which again turned him away. He too succumbed to his injuries

“We were told at 4 a.m. on Saturday to prepare for his burial. There was so much hurry that we couldn't bury him in our family graveyard and had to take him to the nearest one,” says his mother-in-law Shameem.

 

Zaheer, 40, had stepped out to buy cigarettes and was merely sitting outside a shop when he was shot at. He died on the spot. “We can't ask for the post-mortem report. Zaheer is mentioned in the FIR. If I go, they say I was with the accused at the time of the incident,” says his friend Nasim.

While the family members wait for some sign of investigation to begin into the deaths, the police is busy tracking “unknown persons” and assessing loss to its property during the clashes. Mr. Singh said there were a total of 2,000 unknown persons mentioned in different FIRs. The local police have released posters with photos of some of the protesters promising a reward for whoever provides information on them sending many Muslim youth in the city underground.

A senior police official at Police Station Nauchandi said, “Two police motorcycles and three SUVs were fully burnt. As many as seven police personnel were injured and sustained contusions and abrasions. We estimate our total loss to be at ₹2.2 lakh. As many as 1500 unknown persons have been booked.”

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 12:20:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/meerut-police-crackdown-firs-lodged-against-three-dead-hunt-on-for-thousands-of-unknown-persons/article30397599.ece

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