Sufiyan Rafiq, an eyewitness, suspects the attack was premeditated. “I feel they had planned beforehand to beat us,” he said and added that said they were attacked, “because they (the non-Kashmiri workers) feel jealous of us, we are considered better than them at the work.”
Zafar Aafaq | Caravan Daily
JAIPUR— The police in Jaipur have arrested one Aditya in connection with the murder of Kashmiri teenager Ghulam Mohiu Din Khan alias Basit Khan.
Ashok Gupta, Assistant Commissioner of Police in Jaipur told the media on Friday that the arrested hailed from Uttar Pradesh and worked in Jaipur as a caterer.
The police have incorporated section 302 of IPC in the FIR and charged the accused with murder. Initially the case was registered under section 307 IPC (attempt to murder).
Gupta ruled out the incident as a case of hate crime and said that it was not a premeditated move. Nor was the victim attacked for his religious identity or linked to the state he belonged to, he said.
Police in Kashmir also issued a press release, refused to call Khan’s murder a case of lynching, and said that Khan had a fight with co-workers which resulted in his injuries and that he eventually succumbed to death.
Khan, 18, a resident of Kunan village in Kupwara district, succumbed to his injuries at a hospital in Jaipur on Thursday-Friday night after he was brutally beaten up by goons in Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan, on February 5.
His father Khurshid Khan was a soldier in the Indian Army before he died a natural death in 2012 at his home while on vacation. Khan who is survived by one brother, five sisters and his mother, aspired to join the army, his family and friends said.
Khan was in Jaipur on a winter trip and assisting his uncle who worked there in the event management sector.
On the intervening night of February 4 and 5, Ghulam Mohiuddin Khan and Sufiyan Rafiq, also a teenager and resident of Sheeri Baramulla in Kashmir, were part of group of 10 boys working as caterers at a wedding ceremony. At around 1am, after finishing the work, they decided to leave the venue.
A staff van waited outside to take them home. When Khan and Rafiq reached near the van, Khan knocked at its door and asked the driver, who was sleeping, to open the door. Meanwhile, a co-worker named Aditya came in and asked Khan to stop knocking at the door. “Darwaze ko Thuk Thuk nahin karo, mera dimaag kharab ho raha hai, (Don’t knock on the door and stop bugging me)” Rafiq quoted Aditya saying.
But Basit told him, “I want to get inside the van because I am tired and I want to sleep.” On hearing this, Aditya pushed away Khan and then held him by his collar. Thereafter, Rafiq said that two more boys joined in and held the arms of Khan while Aditya kept hitting him on the head for over one minute.
Rafiq wanted to intervene but four more boys encircled Khan and Aditya. “When I tried to come forward, they hit me on my back and did not allow me to protect Basit,” Rafiq recalled.
It was the handler of the workers who then came from the venue and protected Khan from being beaten further, and all of them boarded the same van.
During the travel, Khan asked them to give him a phone as both Rafiq’s and his phone were dead. “He wanted to call Saqib [his colleague] to ask him to wait for him at the bus stop and take him home,” Rafiq said. “He complained of headache and dizziness.”
All of them refused to give him a phone. Rafiq said that the driver dropped them nearly one km away from the stop and they had to walk on foot for over 5 minutes to reach home.
At home, Khan’s condition worsened and he started vomiting. Then his roommates took him to the Swai Man Singh Hospital in an unconscious state and there he underwent scans, was kept under observation later and then subjected to a surgery in the head. He passed away on operation table in the evening of February 6.
Rafiq suspects the attack was pre-mediated. “I feel they had planned beforehand to beat us,” he said. Rafiq said they were attacked “because they (the non-Kashmiri workers) feel jealous of us, we are considered better than them at the work.”
He said that during the travel in the cab, those men were talking among themselves about increasing number of Kashmiris in work. “The customers ask for Kashmiris and they (the workers) do not like it.”
He named Sheikh Maslooq, a man from Mumbai who co-ordinates with the workers, and alleged that he was the one who was behind the attack.
“He threatened me on my face, saying, ‘I will send you in coma like I sent your friend’ outside the police station where I had gone to file the complaint on February 6.” Rafiq said that Maslooq wanted them to withdraw the FIR. “I told him that’s not possible.”
Rafiq complained that the police have not been cooperative and demanded that the other four men who were part of the attack should also be arrested. “Police doesn’t care about our pleas, but are more interested in listening to what Maslooq has to say.”
Khan’s body was handed over to the family after completion of medico-legal formalities. The family demands that the government should help them take the body home by flight. Protest broke out in Kunan, where people poured in at Khan’s home to express solidarity and console his wailing mother and sister. They demanded that the accused should be given stringent punishment.