UP Police Horror: Vandalise Muslim Houses, Loot Jewellery & Cash; Allege Villagers
Syed Khalique Ahmed & Masihuzzama Ansari | India Tomorrow
TAPRANA VILLAGE (SHAMLI DISTRICT, UP), JUNE 3—This village with a population of about 3,000, eighty per cent of them being Muslims, saw the worst kind of horror in its recent history in the intervening night between May 26 and 27 when police and personnel of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) descended on the village, allegedly beat up all those whoever came within their sight and vandalized more than three dozen houses, damaging and destroying everything from flower pots to wash basins to toilet seats, kitchen wares, steel almirahs, fridges, washing machines, air coolers, bikes and cars etc. The broken goods are a testimony to the vandalism and brutality of the police and PAC. It looks like a war-ravaged village. The destruction of household goods and other properties indicates that one of the aims was to cause as much economic damage as possible to the villagers.
Electric meters, electric switches and power inverters as also water pipelines and overhead water tanks in almost all the houses targeted by the cops were also destroyed.
Some of the villagers alleged that the security personnel also broke their safe and almirahs and looted jewellery and cash, together running into several lakhs of rupees. Many of the houses were seen locked as all the family members, including male and females, have escaped to their relatives in other villages for fear of police action if they continue to stay in the village.
All this happened on the pretext of picking up two persons-Afzal and Imran alias Mulla, both real brothers-who were externed from the district for six months after they were found involved in cow slaughter. The villagers are so awe-stricken that none of them are willing to file a case against those who perpetrated atrocities and caused huge financial losses to them. They said that they could be further implicated in fake cases and their life would be ruined if they took legal action against the cops.
However, police have denied all these allegations.
While police have arrested 26 persons, it is looking for 27 others named in the FIR for assaulting the police, injuring the police personnel and damaging police vehicles. There are more 80 unknown persons also mentioned in the FIR having taken part in the assault on the police.
Most of the male members of the houses targeted by the police have left the village since the incident owing to fear of the police as many of them have been booked by the police on charges of attacking the police and obstructing them to carry out their official duties. The village gives the look of a deserted habitation, with only women and children having remained behind to look after their houses.
While village “Pradhan”(village head) Nasir Khan refused to speak anything about the incident as he was also among those rounded up and allegedly tortured by the police but released due to political influence, the villagers said that the police had come looking for three persons-Afzal and Imran alias Mulla, both real brothers and Naushad urf Bhura, son of Shamshad, who had been externed out of the district for six months on charges of their involvement in cow slaughter in the village. While Naushad surrendered himself to the police, the two brothers remained in hiding. According to the locals, the police came looking for Afzal and Imran around 11 pm on May 26. The villagers alleged that before reaching the house of Afzal, police beat up every one whomever they found in the way. “This angered the people who struck back, injuring some of the policemen and damaging their vehicles”, the villagers conceded.
This became the provocation for the police to retaliate. According to the villagers, a large contingent of police with PAC personnel descended on the village around 3 am. They alleged that police broke open their doors, entered their houses and ruined everything. The villagers alleged that the police beat up whomever they found in the houses. A few women also alleged that they were beaten up by the police. The police did not find many men because most of them had run away fearing police reprisals.
Fehmeeda, wife of Masood, whose house is far away from the houses of the accused persons, told India Tomorrow team, “Six to seven persons armed with weapons entered my house around 3 am by breaking open the main door. They broke everything including kitchen wares, plastic chairs, pedestal fans, wooden cots, fridge and washing machine etc”, said Fahmeeda. She alleged that police personnel were using abusive language for the Muslims while they were vandalizing her house. “The policemen left her house after Azaan for the ‘Fajr’ (morning prayers) was given from the village mosque”, said the woman, whose husband has gone into hiding owing to fear of being arrested.
Faseeha, daughter of Umar Daraz Khan, said that her family members had shifted out after the first clash with the police. “But the police broke our main door to enter the house around 3 am and vandalized my house”, she said. Pieces of broken household items including LCD, wall clock, food processor, costly crockery items, refrigerator, dressing table, air cooler, washing machine, water cooler and furniture were strewn all over the house. The toilet was completely broken with bricks. The water pipeline in the house was also damaged.
Faseeha alleged that the cops also took away gold jewellery worth Rs. 3 lakhs by breaking open the steel almirah that was kept for the marriage of her elder sister. She said her younger brother Shamsher has surrendered to the police though he was not involved in clash with the police.
Narrating the alleged police brutality, 60-year-old Zameer Khan, said around 30-35 policemen barged into his house by breaking open the main door. “I was with my two daughters. Policemen started beating me as soon as they entered my room. I requested them not to beat me as I am old and innocent. When my daughter Zainab began making videos, they beat her and pulled her by her hair”, said Zameer.
Zainab said, “the cops tried to hit my sister also with their sticks but my sister caught hold of the baton”.
“After this, they dragged my father out of the house while beating all along”. Zameer showed mediapersons the marks of injuries on his ankle, leg and buttocks due to the police beating.
Zameer alleged that besides destroying household goods, two cars and a bike, the cops also looted Rs. 5 lakh in cash and 25 gms of gold jewellery he had arranged for the marriage of his daughter Shah Bano and son Navid. Navid is among those whose names figure in the FIR. Zameer married off Shah Bano on May 31 without giving her jewellery and other items as, he alleges, the valuables and cash were looted by the security people.
Zameer alleged that the cops did not spare even his bullock which he uses for ploughing his field. “The bullock was screaming loudly on being beaten by the police. The blue marks of injury are still visible on the back of the animal”, the old man said, showing it to us.
A woman identifying herself as Shaista Khan, wife of Umar Daraz Khan Saeed Khan alleged that the policemen assaulted her and her 17-year-old son, a 10th Std student, when the cops did not find her husband. “The cops looted Rs. 1.5 lakh in cash, 50 gms of gold jewellery and 500 gms of silver from her house”, she alleged. Her son Savez has been arrested. She said she could not bear when the policemen were beating her son mercilessly in the house.
An old woman(refused to share her name), wife of one Shamim Abbasi, said the police arrested his two sons-in-law, Mashkoor and Wajid, and her two sons, Nasir and Nazim, besides her husband. Her sons-in-law had come to meet them on the occasion of Eid and had stayed for a day in the village. “All the males of my family have been arrested. Policemen beat up my husband, two sons and two sons-in-law very badly with lathis in our presence while hurling all kind of caste and communal abuses”, she said while weeping. Her elder son Nasir had got married a month ago and had received costly gifts from his in-laws. “But the police have destroyed all of it completely”, the woman said showing it to India Tomorrow team.
Family members of Naushad Qureshi, whose house was also badly vandalized, alleged police looted Rs. 35 lakh of Indian currency and 60 ‘tolas’(600 gms) of gold jewellery from his house. Qureshi has been absconding as police was looking for him in the case.
Another woman Mushtari, wife of Salim Qureshi, narrating her tale of woe, alleged that police assaulted her and her daughter and also detained them at the police station. She said that she and her daughter were set free only after her son surrendered to the police. She alleged that police looted Rs. 90,000 in cash from her bed where she had hidden the money.
However, Shamli District Superintendent of Police Vineet Jaiswal categorically denied that police and PAC personnel were involved in destroying the household goods and other properties or committed robbery. “The villagers may have done it themselves to prepare a case against the security personnel who had gone to arrest two persons who had returned to the village despite the fact that they were externed from the village on a court order for their involvement in cow slaughter a few months ago”, Jaiswal told India Tomorrow.
Jaiswal said that police had picked up Afzal and Imran alias Mulla from their house but the villagers protested and attacked the police party. There was an announcement from the village mosque loudspeaker, asking people to come out and resist the police. “In the process, Imran escaped and police could arrest Afzal only. The mob damaged a police vehicle. One Police sub Inspector got fractures in one of his hands and another PSI received head injuries. A police driver was also injured”, said Jaiswal.
He said that after this, police aided by seven PAC personnel was again sent to arrest the accused who had attacked the police party and damaged the police vehicle. “Police arrested 26 persons from their houses. But police did not indulge in vandalizing the houses. Police did not loot jewellery or cash as alleged by the people. It is all false allegation being made to bring pressure on the police to be soft towards the accused persons. They may have damaged or destroyed their properties themselves. But I can tell you that this was a very difficult and risky operation”, said the police officer. The DSP also denied that any woman was assaulted by the cops.