New Delhi: A 35-year-old Muslim man named Israr was beaten to death in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district last Thursday, and a video of the incident that began circulating Monday has since gone viral.
The police maintain that this was not a case of “lynching”, and Saharanpur’s superintendent of police (rural) Ashok Kumar Meena told ThePrint that local residents had said Israr was “mentally unstable”, which is why he stole a bike and attacked a minor. He labelled the cause of Israr’s death as a “jhadap” or clash.
In the viral video of the incident, Israr can be seen lying on the ground as the attackers beat him up. At one point, he gets up, only to be beaten up again until he lies motionless on the ground. Israr breathed his last at the Saharanpur district hospital.
The incident took place Thursday evening when Israr was travelling from his village, Imliya, which is about 4 km from Deoband, to a nearby village called Kutesa, on a motorcycle. The attackers cornered him in Dehra village and started beating him up.
An FIR has been registered at Deoband police station on a complaint by the victim’s family, under sections 302 (murder), 147 (rioting), 342 (wrongful confinement).
The police are however, yet to make any arrests.
“The family has named 11 people, of which nine have been identified. A team has been formed to investigate the matter,” SP Meena said.
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Not a case of ‘lynching’
“We have been informed that Israr was mentally unstable. Upon investigation, it was found that Israr had, in fact, stolen the motorcycle from someone of his own village Imliya and then attacked a minor (around 8-9 years old) with a sharp object. The child has two deep cuts. An FIR against Israr was also lodged in the Deoband police station under section 307 (attempt to murder),” Meena said.
“The mob attacked Israr in retaliation. A clash broke out between the attackers and Israr, which led to his death. He suffered fatal injuries. We had reached the spot just 10 minutes after we got the call about the incident,” the SP added.
Asked if a case was registered over Israr allegedly stealing the bike, Meena said: “Until now, nobody has registered a case for the stolen bike. The people he stole from are from his village and know him, probably that’s why they haven’t registered a case for it.”
Brother refutes police version
Israr’s brother Mohammad Gulfam told ThePrint that this was the first he had heard about his brother having a “mental” condition.
“They are saying now that he had a mental disorder. Even if he attacked the child, they could have just handed him over to the police and registered a case. Instead, they killed him with sticks and rods,” Gulfam said.
The brother said Israr owned two bikes, but had taken one from an acquaintance for the trip to Kutesa. “We have two motorcycles at home, both belonged to Israr. But on the day of the incident, he had taken the motorcycle from someone we know in our village,” Gulfam said.
According to Gulfam, Israr, a carpenter by profession, was on his way to attend to a customer.
“An hour after Israr had left home, I was told that a mob is attacking my brother in Dehra village. I saw the mob mercilessly beating up my brother with rods and sticks, but it was already too late,” Gulfam said.
“They tied him up with a rope and hit him on the head continuously. Nobody stopped the mob. I tried to stop them, but they didn’t listen and continued till he was motionless,” he added.
Asked if he knew that an FIR was lodged against his brother for assaulting a minor, Gulfam said: “Now many things will come up, but fact is that Israr is dead.”
Apart from his brother, Israr is survived by his wife Khushnuma, who is four months pregnant, and three young children aged between 1.5 and 5 years.
Gulfam said Khushnuma was inconsolable since his death, and that Israr was the main source of income in the family.
“We don’t know what to tell the kids. His body was not in a condition to be shown to anybody, let alone his wife and children,” Gulfam said.
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