Despite ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans, police claim murder of Muslim farmer in UP is not communal ( Caravan Magazine )

The place where a mob attacked 50-year-old Dawood Ali Tyagi, a farmer, as he sat outside his house in Vinaypur village, in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat district. CK VIJAYAKUMAR FOR THE CARAVAN

On the night of 2 September, a mob attacked 50-year-old Dawood Ali Tyagi, a farmer, as he sat outside his house in Vinaypur village, in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat district. Dawood’s brother had died of an illness a month earlier, and there were people visiting the family. Dawood’s nephews, Naeem and Amjad, and his neighbour Akram were also sitting with him. Suddenly, at around 10 pm, around eighteen armed youths, on seven to eight motorcycles, rode in and attacked the group with sharp weapons. They held country-made pistols and later shouted slogans of “Jai Shri Ram.” While the others managed to escape, Dawood was seriously injured. He was immediately taken to a hospital in Meerut but succumbed to his injuries.

Naeem reported the incident to the police. On 3 September, the police registered a first information report at the Khekra police station, under sections 147, 148, 149 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code. They pertain to punishment for rioting, carrying a deadly weapon, unlawful assembly and murder. In an official statement, the police said they had arrested four accused, who came from the nearby Bhagot village, while 13 others were absconding. Police also said they recovered four sticks and two motorcycles used in the murder.

The four arrested are Nikki alias Vikki, Harish, Mohit and Dilip. A fifth person, Upendra, later surrendered to the police.. Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, the Khekra circle officer, told us that if the remaining accused are not caught within a month, a contempt of court case will be filed against them, and their properties attached.

However, the police appeared to downplay the possible communal aspect of the murder and framed it as a personal dispute. According to the police statement, the accused said that there was tension between the youth of Vinaypur and Bhagot, and they wanted to teach their counterparts in Vinaypur a lesson. The accused said they had gathered in Bhagot and decided to beat whoever they found in Vinaypur. The men accepted that they went to Vinaypur at 10 pm with sticks and pistols and attacked people. But Chaudhary denied that the murder had a communal angle. “This was not a communal incident,” he told us. “These people have an old land dispute. They all have their fields together.”

I spoke to ShahRukh Ali, Dawood’s son, a student of Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University, who hopes to work in civil services. Though the accused claimed that they had arrived in Vinaypur with the intention of “beating whoever they find,” ShahRukh pointed out that his house was deep inside the village and that the attackers had to pass through about fifty Hindu houses before reaching there. He suggested that the attack was well planned.

This story was originally published in . Read the full story here

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