Unnao: The family of Faisal Hussain, the 18-year-old vegetable seller allegedly beaten to death by personnel of the Unnao Police, said he was their lone breadwinner and had been doing the job since he was 12 years old.
They now want a Rs 1 crore compensation from the Uttar Pradesh government.
Hussain was Friday allegedly picked up by police from his shop at the Sabzi Mandi in Bangarmau area of Unnao district on charges of violating Covid-19 lockdown rules.
Faisal’s family alleged that police thrashed him and took him to the station, where he was later found dead.
“Faisal was just selling vegetables in the market. A police constable came and slapped him after an argument,” Salman, Faisal’s cousin, told ThePrint. “They dragged him and took him along with them on their bullet (bike) to the police station, where they beat him to death.”
A vegetable seller at the Sabzi Mandi, on the condition of anonymity, told ThePrint, “Faisal came to the mandi after namaaz. The police thrashed him and took him to the station where he died. His friend Sartaj told us that he (Faisal) was badly tortured at the police station. Sufiyan (younger brother) and Sartaj went to the hospital after getting information from us about the incident.”
A murder case was registered against constables Vijay Choudhary, Seemavat and home guard Satya Prakash Friday after local residents, along with Faisal’s family members, blocked the Unnao-Bangarmau-Hardoi Road, seeking action against the policemen.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) Monday also sent a notice to the Unnao district authorities taking note of Faisal’s death, asking the district authorities to submit a report within three days.
The notice has been issued on a complaint received by the panel that Faisal was a minor and 17 years old. Accordingly, the commission has now asked for proof of his age from the district authorities.
In its notice, the apex child rights body has also sought details, including a report on the action taken against the policemen who allegedly thrashed Faisal, copies of his medical and post-mortem reports as well as action taken so far in the incident.
Sole breadwinner in the family
Faisal’s relatives told ThePrint that he was the sole earning member of the family. He has two brothers and two sisters.
The teenager’s sister Khushnuma told ThePrint that her brother had been selling vegetables since the age of 12 as their father is not well. “He hardly earned Rs 300-400 a day. He mainly sold dhaniya (coriander leaves), nimbu (lemon), mirch (green chilli) and adrak (ginger),” she added.
“Who will take care of my family now? We are seven members living in a small house,” Faisal’s mother Naseema Bano told ThePrint. “My husband and elder son are undergoing treatment. “Due to the family’s condition, Faisal started selling vegetables. He left his school education early.
“Bhai was the only one in the family who had deep interest in studies but he left education because of the family’s economic condition,” Khushnuma said. “He financially helped in a sister’s wedding as well. After him, now who will take care of us. We have a demand of Rs 1 crore compensation.”
1 cop arrested, 2 absconding
The Unnao additional SP Shashi Shekhar Singh told ThePrint that home guard Satya Prakash has been arrested in connection with the case.
“One of the three policemen accused of killing an 18-year-old vegetable vendor in Unnao was arrested Sunday. The other two are absconding,” he said. “We have formed six teams to arrest them. We are investigating the matter. It is true that he died due to a head injury.”
The SP, however, denied the allegations that Faisal was tortured.
“Faisal was selling vegetables at the mandi, which was supposed to close by 12 noon due to the partial lockdown,” Singh said. “While police were trying to vacate the mandi area, there was a verbal spat after which they beat the youth. He was, however, not tortured at the police station. We have cross checked the CCTV footage.”
Police had initially blamed a heart attack for Faisal’s death but a source in the Unnao Police confirmed to ThePrint that the post-mortem report released Saturday put the cause of death to a head injury.
Unnao District Magistrate Ravindra Kumar told ThePrint that the administration will look to compensate the teenager’s family.
“This incident was very unfortunate. We are trying for compensation as well as a house for the family under any government scheme,” Kumar said. “I can’t say right now how much compensation will be given but we will try to fulfill their demands after discussions. Action will also be taken against the accused.”
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)