On 22nd June, 17 years old Junaid was returning home along with his brothers after Eid shopping in Delhi when he was stabbed onboard a Delhi-Mathura passenger train between Ballabgarh and Mathura stations.
The fight started over seat sharing, and later religious slurs were also allegedly thrown in the fight, but media reports highlighted this case as a ‘beef’ related lynching. Police investigations in the case though have found out that neither the complainant nor the accused talked about beef.
Police too is maintaining that the fight had started over seat sharing, which is reported to be a frequent trouble on the said train route. However, due to the communal angle, police acted with alacrity in this case and arrested 4 people, while the main accused remained at large.
Naresh, the main accused, was finally arrested on 8th July from Dhule, Maharashtra, who reportedly had confessed to the crime. Media reports claim that he was drawn into the fight after he tried to “intervene into a scuffle between a Delhi government employee and Junaid’s brothers”.
The family members of Naresh too accept that he was involved, but they claim that he acted in self-defence. ‘Had Naresh not acted in self-defence, they would have killed him’, Naresh’s 55-year-old father Inder Singh was quoted as saying.
According to the father, who is an ex-army man, Naresh got into the argument after Junaid and his friends misbehaved with an old man and also refused to offer him a seat.
His uncle even claimed that the initial argument, which only comprised of heated exchanges was soon sorted out. It allegedly turned violent when Junaid’s brother and his friends boarded the train from Ballabgarh after being phoned in by Junaid and co. They allegedly then proceeded to attack Naresh and others using belt and chains. They even took out a knife, which according to the Naresh’s uncle, was snatched by Naresh who then proceeded to stab them in self defense.
Incidentally the bit about Junaid calling his brother for help was also reported in media soon after the murder case became big headlines, but the reports suggested that phone calls were made for help, and not for revenge attack as is being claimed by Naresh’s family.
Naresh who used to work as a security guard was urged by his family to surrender but instead he chose to flee and ended up getting nabbed. The family has also accused the police of carrying a one sided investigation, while others have earlier accused the police of arresting innocent villagers.
According to the family, the police is not arresting 2 people, including a Muslim who had helped Naresh flee, owing to political pressure.