The incident comes just days after display of Hindu-Muslim unity at farmers’ rally in neighbouring Muzaffarnagar district
Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India
NEW DELHI — A 17-year-old Muslim auto mechanic was beaten to death by a mob in Banat village near Shamli town of Western Uttar Pradesh on Thursday, police and victim’s family said.
A case of murder has been registered at Aadarsh Mandi Police Station against eight accused, police said, and arrested one person.
“We opened the investigation and arrested the main accused, Vardhan.” Sunil Negi, a police inspector, told Clarion India over the phone. The seven others named in the FIR are: Vatanraj, Akshay, Raj, Ashish, Lucky, Chintu (Ayush Rana) and Bhonda.
“The accused belong to Jat community while the victim is a Muslim,” added Negi.
Apart from murder, the police has also invoked charges of rioting against the accused under Section 147 and 148 of the Indian Penal Code.
The news was first reported by Maktoob on Friday morning.
Sameer Chaudhary, 17, had gone out on an errand in the village market when he was assaulted by the mob. According to his uncle Adil Chaudhary, the mob hit him repeatedly in his head, leaving him grievously injured. He was taken to a hospital in Shamli where doctors referred him to Muzaffarnagar town for better treatment but he succumbed to his injuries on the way.
Sameer’s cousin Parvez said that a group of Muslim boys were arguing with boys from the Jat community on some matter but the “elders from their community intervened and started beating up Muslims.”
He said while they managed to run, Sameer was caught and brutally thrashed. “They smashed his head on the road repeatedly.”
Parvez called it a case of hate crime saying that “Sameer was killed for his Muslim identity”.
Adil said that the men who beat up “are goons, infamous for dadagiri (bullying), harassing ordinary people. They frequently indulge in street violence”. He said that two of them recently came out of jail.
Superintendent of Police Sukirti Madhav, said in a video on social media that Sameer was injured during a quarrel with the accused over some dispute.
The incident comes just four days after a mass rally of farmers was held in neighbouring Muzaffarnagar district. The rally was also seen as an attempt to send a message of harmony and unity among Hindus and Muslims of western Uttar Pradesh, eight years after a deadly riots that rocked the villages of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli.
“Slogans of Allahu Akbar and Har Har Mahadev were raised in the rally only last week but the lynching of Sameer shows that violent hate crimes against ordinary Muslims continue,” said Zakir Ali Tyagi, a human rights activists based in western UP. He raised questions over the police’s ability and intent to provide safety to Muslims as he demanded strict action against the culprits “unlike in the past when they were protected and made leaders.”
Madhav, the SP, assured that the seven accused who are absconding would also be arrested.
Sameer was a mechanic at a workshop of Tata company located on the highway near the village. He is survived by two brothers, a sister and mother. His father had passed away a few years ago and he was the lone earning hand in the family. “He would earn Rs 4,000- 5,000 per month to support his family,” Adil Chaudhary said as he demanded compensation from the government to help the family sustain.