New Delhi: The families of three men from Uttar Pradesh’s Firozabad, who succumbed to injuries in hospitals in Delhi, are yet to receive their medical and post-mortem reports — amid allegations that they were killed in police firing.
All three men — Mohammed Shafiq, Mohammed Harun and Muqim — allegedly suffered bullet injuries during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in UP’s Firozabad on 20 December. They had been shifted to Safdarjung and AIIMS hospitals in Delhi.
While Shafiq and Muqim died at Safdarjung Hospital on 26 December and 23 December, respectively, Harun passed away in AIIMS on 25 December.
Muqim’s uncle, Kallu, alleged that authorities at Safdarjung Hospital delayed his post-mortem by a day-and-a-half. He added that they were also not given any medical report when his body was finally handed over.
Showing an image of a “rough report” stored in his phone, he told ThePrint, “All our papers are with the Safdarjung police outpost. I have nothing in my possession.”
Sharing a similar story, Harun’s family members alleged that the AIIMS hospital administration delayed his post-mortem for about 18 hours.
“The police also did not let us take photos of the discharge copy after the post-mortem,” a relative of Harun told ThePrint. “They were in a haste to show us the reports. We found the attitude of the police suspicious.”
The reports are vital to establish if the three men sustained bullet injuries.
While Shafiq’s medical report clearly states that he had received bullet injuries, the initial reports of Harun and Muqim do not mention any such possibility. In both their cases, the hospital administrations are yet to clarify whether their injuries were caused by bullets or not.
‘Post-mortem reports being denied’
The families’ allegations come amid charges that post-mortem reports of those killed in alleged police firing in Uttar Pradesh are deliberately being held back.
Swaraj Party leader Yogendra Yadav, in his fact-finding report, has levelled serious allegations against the UP Police that post-mortem reports are not being given to the victims’ families.
Prominent social activist Harsh Mander also said it is “possible that police are tampering with post-mortem reports”.
“An independent judicial inquiry should be conducted to investigate the brutality of the UP Police. For this it is important that vital documents should be preserved at all cost,” he said. “CCTV footage and post-mortem reports are quite important in proving harsh police actions. However, it is quite possible that the police might try to impact these cases by tampering with the evidence.”
Delhi-based advocate Tariq Khan, who has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court regarding the violence at Jamia Millia Islamia, told ThePrint, “The deceased’s family has full right to know the cause of death before talking the body at home. Without a magistrate order, hospitals and police cannot take away the right of the families to know the cause of the death. The kind of situation we have in UP, the media should be provided medical reports.”
Authorities at the Delhi hospitals, however, deny the charges.
An officer posted at Safdarjung police outpost told ThePrint, “We have no medical report belonging to that (Muqim’s) family. As and when we receive the post-mortem report, we will inform the Firozabad police.”
The hospital authorities told ThePrint that post-mortem reports take time. “Post-mortem report in both these cases (Shafiq and Muqim) will come after 15 January,” said an official at Safdarjung Hospital. “Usually this takes about a month or more than a month. We are not delaying the reports deliberately.”
The authorities at AIIMS refused to comment on the issue. A senior doctor at the premier hospital, however, told ThePrint that the forensics department is maintaining secrecy on the matter.
Did not fire bullets: Firozabad police
The Firozabad police claims it did not fire any bullets during the 20 December protests.
Firozabad SSP Sachindra Patel told ThePrint that there was a lathicharge and that the police only used tear gas against the protesters.
“On 20 December, 18 of our personnel suffered firearm injuries and more than 50 have been injured due to stone pelting,” Patel said. “Some are still being treated at home and some have now returned to duty.”
He also denied the charges that the UP Police had anything to do with the families not receiving medical reports. “AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital authorities and the Delhi Police are involved in the cases now,” he said. “How can we influence the medical reports? We are also waiting for the medical and post-mortem reports.”
The SSP added that the police have arrested 14 people for the 20 December protests that turned violent. “So far 35 FIRs have been filed for burning public property,” he said. “We are trying not to arrest any innocent by mistake but let me say this very clearly that not a single guilty person will be spared.”