A viral photo of a 45-year-old Muslim man being dragged with three policemen visible in the frame days after he was allegedly beaten to death on suspicion of cow slaughter in Hapur district of Uttar Pradesh has forced the state police to issue an apology. In a statement issued on Thursday, the UP DGP headquarters said that an inquiry has been initiated against all the three cops – Pilakhuwa police station in-charge and two constables — and they have been transferred to police lines.
On Monday, Qasim, a cattle trader by profession, was beaten to death while Samiuddin (65), the person who was accompanying him suffered severe injuries in the incident. Their families claimed that the attack was due to a ‘cow related matter’. According to a report in The Indian Express, the lynching of Qasim took place between 12 noon and 1 pm on Monday in the sugarcane fields diving two villages in Pilakhuwa — Muslim-dominated Madapur and Thakur-dominated Baghera Khurd. The photograph surfaced on Wednesday night, showing Qasim being lifted by 4-5 men. The image also captured three policemen.
“We apologise for the insensitive manner in which the victim was handled by our policemen. All the three policemen seen in the picture have been transferred to police lines and an inquiry has been ordered in the incident,” the UP Police said in its statement.
The statement added that it appears the picture was captured when cops reached the incident site and were shifting the injured person to the police vehicle to rush him to a hospital due to non-availability of an ambulance at that moment. “The victim was unfortunately carried this way.”
Admittedly, it said, the policemen should have been more sensitive in their conduct. “The humane concerns got ignored in the urgency of saving a life and maintaining law and order. As is clear from other pictures, the victim was rushed to the hospital in a UP100 PRV.”
Contradictory to the families’ charge, police said that it was perhaps the fallout of a road rage incident. They have arrested two persons on charges of murder following the filing of an FIR at the Pilakhuwa police station by Qasim’s brother. The arrested duo are Yudhishtir Singh and Rakesh Sisodia.
According to the FIR, the incident took a violent turn following a brawl between Qasim and Samiuddin and unidentified bike-borne men. But the family of Samiuddin and the nabbed person said that it was related to ‘cattle’.
Police said that the FIR makes no mention of cattle and has been registered on the basis of a complaint by Samiuddin’s brother.
Sankalp Sharma, Superintendent of Police, Hapur told the daily that the FIR mentions 25-30 unknown men as accused. “Samiuddin is in hospital and is yet to identify the assailants.”
Sharma added that Qasim’s brother met him on Thursday and in his statement he said that the incident happened when Qasim and Samiuddin were walking and a motorcycle hit them. According to him, the SP said, when the duo protested, the men on the bike called 20-30 people from the village and beat them up.