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“Leave our area, you Hindus”, said Safayat Nabi’s family while lynching man for complaining about minor daughter’s kidnapping

According to reports, it was only after the minor girl was kidnapped the second time allegedly by her 25-year old neighbour Mohammad Danish, Chauhan decided to approach the police. Earlier, fearing social shame, the family had brushed the crime under the carpet. 

Gangaram Singh Chauhan of Aliyabad village in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad district was lynched at home for filing a written complaint at the local Dilari police station against his 13-year-old daughter’s abduction. Now new details about the case have emerged in a ground report done by Swati Goel Sharma of Swarajya.

According to the report, Chauhan’s daughter was kidnapped two months earlier also. It was only after the minor girl was kidnapped the second time allegedly by her 25-year old neighbour Mohammad Danish, Chauhan decided to approach the police. Earlier, fearing social shame, the family had brushed the crime under the carpet.

The first time Danish is believed to have taken the girl to Rajasthan, around 700 kilometers away from home. Her family had then sought the help of the neighbouring village (Peepli Umarpur) pradhan instead of the police. She was recovered within a few days. Chauhan’s son Deepak confirmed that his family was scared to approach the pradhan of their own village, Abdul Rehman as they feared he would side with the culprit’s family. He asserted they are one of the only two Hindu families living amongst 100-odd Muslim families in the village. Aliyabad is predominantly a Muslim dominated area with one-third of the total population being Muslims.

The minor girl, however, went missing again on the night of June 18 and this time around Chauhan approached the police against the suspect, Danish. The police, instead of acting on the complaint of the girl’s father displayed a lackluster attitude throughout the day. In the meanwhile, Danish’s family who learned about Chauhan’s complaint forcefully entered his home and lynched him to death.

Tragically, the 55-year-old Chauhan had to pay the price with his life for safeguarding his daughter.

The attackers said, “You live among us and yet you dare to stand against us?” claimed Savita, Chauhan’s wife who witnessed her husband’s painful death along with her 18-year-old son Deepak, and two younger children, aged ten and five.

She claimed that a total of six men and two women armed with lathis and butchers’ knife had barged into their home hurling abuses, and hit her on her head. Thereafter they punched Chauhan, who was resting on a cot, hard on his chest, lifted him and banged him on the floor several times. They left once he fell unconscious.

“It looked like he died on the spot,” she added.

Deepak recalls the attackers shouting, “Hamare beech mein reh rahe ho aur hamein hi moohzori dikha rahe ho? Hinduon, yahan se bhago [You live among us and yet dare to stand up against us? Leave our area, you Hindus].” He added the attackers, including Danish’s father Safayat Nabi, repeatedly threatened Chauhan about keeping his daughter in his house right in front of theirs and still not be able to do anything.

Savita claimed the attackers threatened that her children would meet a similar fate before leaving her house. She recalled that Danish’s mother Ameena sliced her own hand with a blade with an intention to file a police complaint against them for attacking her (and the mob). This fact was later corroborated by the daroga (police constable) at the Dilari police station.

Chauhan’s elder brother Harswaroop who lives with his family in the adjoining village of Peepli Umarpur, said he rushed to the spot as soon as he learned of the attack on his brother. He then took his brother to a local health centre where he was referred to Moradabad. However, Chauhan was declared brought dead by Cosmos hospital and the family did not have the post-mortem report at the time when the report was filed.

A first information report (FIR) was filed on the same night, in which six accused, Safayat Nabi, his three sons Mohsin, Chhotu and Danish, and their two cousins, Akram and Irrfan have been named.

The FIR mentions that six men barged into Chauhan’s house around 8 pm, and had a fight with Chauhan, who died of his injuries. It, however, has conveniently skipped mentioning the girl’s kidnapping and the revenge attack on her family for filing a written statement against the culprit.

While the police have added sections 302 (murder), 147 (rioting) and 452 (house-trespass) in the FIR, none of the women have been named. Also, no charge of religious hate has been applied. Deepak Kumar, the SHO of Dilari police station now stands suspended for lapses on various counts.

Amit Pathak, SSP of Moradabad district has listed a few points about Kumar’s suspension. One, the SHO failed to take the victim family’s complaint on the night the girl went missing and did not register an FIR even on the morning of 19 June. He did not pursue the matter to trace the girl through the day and despite the kidnapping being a “Hindu-Muslim issue,” failed to alert senior officials. He also did not deploy preventive police force in the area.

Pathak stated that a further probe is underway to determine whether Dilari police mishandled the kidnapping case two months ago.

All the six men named in the FIR have been arrested.

The girl was recovered on 21 June, two days after her father was lynched. She was found with another neighbour named Nadeem.

The girl’s cousin, Sandeep Thakur, said that when he met her on 22 June in a shelter home, she confessed to him that she had eloped with Nadeem, a cousin of Danish. He added, “She said it was Danish’s plan. But now after her father’s murder, she does not want to live with him anymore and wants the strictest punishment for him.”

Vijendra Singh Rathi, the daroga at Dilari thana, said that a case of kidnapping (section 363) and inducing a woman to compel her into marriage (section 366) was also later filed against four men, including Danish. He divulged the medical report of the girl was awaited.

Chauhan’s family have shifted to live with Harswaroop’s family for fear of their safety, and intend to sell off their Aliyabad house.

“We will not get any Hindu buyer now. We will have to sell it to a Muslim who will pay us a pittance, knowing our desperation very well,” said Harswaroop.

Brahm Singh, pradhan of Peepli, asserted Chauhan’s family was safe in their “Hindu” village where the “community” would help them.

Meanwhile, in Aliyabad none of the neighbours wanted to discuss a word about the lynching. Mohammad Ibrar, Chauhan’s adjoining neighbour excused himself for talking about the issue when Swati approached him and said, “he was not present in the house when it unfolded.” Others neither wanted to talk about it nor were willing to share their details including names.

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