UP Police investigation into lynching cases biased against victims, finds Report

New Delhi, November 11 (KMS): An investigative report into some of the lynching cases has found that police investigations were biased against the victims and their family members and no action was taken against the culprits.

The report noted in its findings “There are three points which have come out from the investigation into four cases: that in one case victim’s family had to migrate from their village; in none of the cases, the victim family considered the police investigation as unbiased; and charge sheets were not filed against the accused named in the FIR.”

The report by Kirti Dubey of BBC Hindi revealed the four lynching cases in four districts of Uttar Pradesh – Sonbhadhra, Bulandshahar, Muradabad and Mathura. According to a 2019 report by human rights organization Amnesty International, Uttar Pradesh reported the most cases of hate crimes.

There is no data with regard to the incidents of hate crimes happening across the country. The BBC collected data of hate crimes that happened in 2016 and in 2021. It found that in 2016, 11 serious cases of hate crimes were reported from January to August while in 2021, 24 cases were reported.

The latest investigative report into four cases revealed that the police did not book and arrest the main accused whom the family members of the victims accused of committing crimes. The accused who were arrested in these cases are out on bail. The victims were also forced to compromise in some of the cases.

On 20 March 2019, 50-year-old Anwar Ali was lynched in Parsoi village of Sonbhadra when he came out to oppose the demolition of Imam chowk. Two years passed by but the hearing into the case was not completed so far. Ali’s family believes that Ravinder Kharwar, a teacher who is associated with RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) is the mastermind of the lynching of Ali. He is the one who started spreading hatred against Muslims in the village after he was posted there. But the police did not take action against Kharwar. The family members even asked the police as to why he was not arrested but the police refused to take action against them. Kharwar was not named in the charge sheet and he was never called for the interrogation at the police station.

On 2 May 2017, 60-year-old Ghulam Ahmed was lynched in Sohi village of Bulandshahar. He was killed because a Muslim man from his village had eloped with a Hindu woman. Ten people – one villager and 9 people associated with Hindu Yuva Vahini – were arrested in the case of Ahmed’s lynching. After his lynching, Ahmed’s family members were forced to migrate from the village. All the culprits were let go as the family members were also forced to compromise on the case after taking some money. The eyewitnesses refused to testify in the court due to the fear from the villagers.

On 4 June 2021, Sher Khan was killed by cow vigilantes. The police booked the one whom his family members accused of killing Sher Khan. The police filed an FIR against unknown villagers while the family believed that it’s Chandra Shekhar Baba who shot Khan. On the contrary, the police booked Khan’s family members for cow smuggling on the complaint of Chandra Shekhar.

In May this year, Shakir Qureshi was brutally beaten up when he was going to give buffalo meat to someone. The police arrested 6 accused including Manoj Thakur. Thakur is the main accused but he is out on bail now.

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