UP: 12 policemen booked in ‘fake encounter’ of Muslim farmer

Illustration: TCN

The court ordered the registration of a case against 12 police personnel based on the complaint of the victim’s wife.

TCN Special Correspondent

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NEW DELHI — Twelve policemen were booked under various sections of IPC (Indian Penal Code) including murder charges following an order from a court directing the police to lodge a first information report (FIR) in a case related to the encounter killing of a 45-year-old Muslim man over cow slaughter allegations.

In September 2021, Zeeshan Haider, a farmer from Thitki village, died at the district hospital after being shot by the local police over accusations of cow slaughter. However, his family denied the charges and maintained that he was not involved in any crime and moved the Allahabad High Court against the killing.

The High Court directed the Saharanpur court to dispose of his petition. On January 19 this year, the CJM court in Saharanpur ordered for registration of an FIR against the erring policemen within 24 hours observing at the prima facie, a non-cognizable offence appears to be made.

‘In the affidavit filed by the Saharanpur district officer, there is no mention of any action about other allegations levelled by Mrs Afroz (wife of Zeeshan). However, there is only mention of the probe conducted by the Saharanpur SP city. On the basis of the statements and facts mentioned in the pleas filed by the petitioner with regard to this police station, a non-cognizable offence appears to be made in the prima facie. In this situation, actual truth can not come to the court unless there is an unbiased probe about the allegations made by the petitioner after filing an FIR as per the established process. This is necessary for the purpose of justice,” noted Judge Anil Kumar.

Syed Isa Raza, Zeeshan’s cousin brother and Samajwadi Party (SP) leader, informed TwoCircles.net that the police have registered an FIR against 12 policemen on January 22.

When TwoCircles.net approached Deoband police station to seek details related to the FIR, Hriday Narain Singh, in charge of the police station, said that he will not share the details related to any person. “It will violate the secrecy of the case,” he said.

However, Saharanpur SSP Vipin Tada told the media about the FIR filed against the policemen in the case.

“Following the court’s directive, a case has been registered against 12 policemen, including three sub-inspectors and nine constables. We are collecting details of all the accused policemen, including their present postings. We have also initiated a fresh investigation,” said Tada.

The accused are sub-Inspectors Yashpal Singh, Asgar Ali and Omveer Singh, head constable Sukhpal Singh, and constables Bharat Singh, Vipin Kumar, Pramod Kumar, Rajveer Singh (now retired), Neetu Yadav, Devendra Kumar (retired), Brijesh (retired) and Ankit Kumar.

They were booked under sections 147 (for rioting), 148 (for rioting armed with deadly weapons), 149 (for offence committed in prosecution of common object), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving information to screen offender), 307 (for attempt to murder), 302 (for murder), 342 (for wrongful confinement) and 120B (for criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

However, Raza told TwoCircles.net that the investigation in the case can not be fair if these erring policemen continue to serve on duty. “Till the time these policemen are in uniform, the investigation will not be fair. They should be suspended. Only then can appropriate action be taken,” he said.

Following the court order, Raza said that he had complete faith in the judiciary. He called the court order a “victory for justice”.

Narrating the circumstances surrounding his death, Afroz told the court that her husband was of criminal nature. He had no case lodged against him. However, he had an adverse relationship with the informers of the police. On the intervening night of 4-5 September 2021, Zeeshan told her that a police official had called him for some inquiry. Later, he couldn’t be reached as his phone was switched off. In the morning, she came to know that her husband was shot in the leg and he is admitted to the district hospital.

Raza, along with some relatives went to the district hospital, where they found Zeeshan’s body.

On the other hand, the police claimed that they had received a tip-off about the cow slaughter in a forest near the village.

Zeeshan, who was carrying a country-made pistol, was present there. He had shot himself in the leg, the police had claimed.

The police also claimed to recover the cow carcasses along with tools for slaughtering.

The police also showed the cases filed against Zeeshan but the court observed that all these FIRs were filed on the day when he died.

“Zeeshan used to help the poor. He did not allow the police to harass the poor. The police used to be upset with him. We were not told why he was killed and that he was involved in the cow slaughter,” Raza said.