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Killing of Khalid Mujahid? Who Did It and Why?

Cover Story

, by SYYED MANSOOR AGHA

SYED MANSOOR AGHA analyses the circumstances in which Khalid Mujahid was killed and owing to State inaction and apathy terms it as the death knell for the Samajwadi government in Uttar Pradesh.

How was Khalid Mujahid killed in police custody? Though the State Government has hurriedly announced a magisterial probe, an administrative probe and a CBI probe, but it is unlikely that we would ever get the exact answer to this question.

But there is another set of questions, easy to answer. Who will be politically benefited from his death and who will be at loss? Senior Urdu journalist based in Lucknow, Hafeez Naumani commenting on the incident rightly observed, “Next to Khalid Mujahid’s grave, lies dug another grave in which dreams of Samajwadi Party will be buried in 2014 elections.”

SP Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav was dreaming to assume central stage in Delhi. Now he and his Chief Minister son are shocked but not shaken yet. The Government seems to be directionless. At one hand the Chief Minister recommended a set of inquiries and also dismissed nine cops escorting Mujahid but at the same time virtually exonerated the cops by declaring that he had died of some illness. If the CM is convinced that Khalid died of some illness, which was never mentioned before, then why this political drama of triple probes?

The probes including one by a team of the State Home Secretary, an additional Director General of Police and an Inspector General level officer will not help him retrieve what he has lost due to his inaction during the last one month and did not care to keep poll promises. Only immediate creation of a special court for speedy trials and clearing of the cases of all terror accused within next six months, facilitating release of under-trials on bail during the pendency of the cases and compensation to innocent persons implicated falsely in terror cases can assuage hurt feelings.

Contradicting CM’s theory of Khalid’s illness, deceased’s Lawyer Mohammad Shoeb, alleged that the events surrounding Khalid’s death point to a “planned criminal conspiracy” with “protection” under the State Government. He said, “I was with Khalid in Faizabad court till 3.30 pm and he was healthy.” Another advocate Randhir Suman also told media that he was with him till 3.15 pm in the court and he was normal. Jail superintendent of Lucknow, where he was lodged, has already gone on record, saying Khalid’s health was normal. But the government insists that he might have died due to heat stroke or some heart problem. According to his escort, Khalid fainted on way at Barabanki, and was taken to District Hospital, where he was declared brought dead by the doctors. It is reported that he took his last breath near Ram Sanchi Ghat on way to Lucknow.

Autopsy done at Barabanki Hospital is said to be inconclusive on the cause of death. It was done by five doctors, including two Muslims. His lungs and heart have been persevered for further examination. Some concentration of blood is reported in stomach, lungs and other organs which indicate some mysterious poisoning.

The post-mortem report mentions that the body had black lips, black nails and bleeding from the ears. “These could be indications of poisoning or strangulation,” said Mr. Randhir Suman, his advocate.

Advocate and social activist Mohd Shoeb said, “There were injuries marks on his neck, face, elbow and back. There was also an injury mark on the thigh, but none of this is mentioned in the report. It only states that his nails and upper lip are black and mentions bleeding from his nose.”

Mr. Shoeb, president of an NGO, Rihai Manch, stressed, “What is important is that he was in kurta pajama in Faizabad court but his dead body was wearing a t-shirt and a lower, which he never used. Even in his luggage, his kurta pajama were not there, which only shows that when the escort killed him, blood from his nose and neck spilled on his clothes. To hide the blood, they changed his dress and hid his kurta and pajama.”

Another social activist Rajeev Yadav of Rihai Manch added that the bone of his neck appears to have been broken, and he had several other injury marks on the body.

Mujahid’s Uncle Zaheer Alam Falahi, who had brought up Mujahid after the death of his father when he was 4-5 years old, rushed to Barabanki and identified the body before post mortem. He said his face was blackened, and the neck swollen as if someone had wrung it out. There was also a dark spot just above the left ankle. This, he said, indicated that Khalid was attacked with an object when he was on his way to Lucknow from Faizabad after case hearing. The photographs of the body, taken before autopsy and released by Rihai Manch, show visible marks on the face and blood clots.

Rihai Manch is a Lucknow-based forum that works for release of innocent persons implicated in terror cases.

After these facts were in public domain, nine cops accompanying Khalid Mujahid were suspended. They include Sub Inspector Ram Awadhram, constables Chandrashekhar, Anand Prakash, Jitendra, Manoj Kumar, Ramji Yadav, Deepak Kumar, Jaiprakash and constable driver Lalaram. All were posted at Lucknow police lines. Several policemen, including officers were also suspended after Hashim Pura and Maliana massacre in Meerut but all were reinstated one by one and promoted to higher posts. In this case, Mulayam Singh Yadav had promised to punish the guilty but forgot once he was elevated to the coveted post of CM with the support of Muslim votes. He has also promised to get all innocent persons released from the jails and speedy justice to terror accused but nothing has been done during the last 14 months. Family sources of the deceased revealed none from the ruling party or the Government contacted the family to condole. Though the family has demanded compensation but there is no word from the SP Government.

Meanwhile, Khalid Mujahid’s uncle has filed an FIR against 42 erring police officials, including former DGP Vikram Singh, IPS Manoj Kumar, Chiranjeev Lal Sinha, S. Anand and against unknown Intelligence personnel, for conspiracy and murder of Khalid Mujahid.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was quick to raise objection on Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe demanded by the family of Mujahid. Party state unit spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak asked the Government, “UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had stated that Khalid died due to some illness; if it is so, what is the need of a CBI probe?”

Alleging SP of playing ‘Muslim card’ the Bharatiya Janata Party has decided to support the policemen who had arrested Mujahid. “We would support all policemen,” declared State Unit president, Laxmikant Bajpai, who immediately called a meeting to articulate the ways to exploit the case by instigating Hindu sentiments.

Bajpai ridiculed government for ordering three parallel probes – judicial enquiry, inquiry by a high power panel under Home Secretary and recommending CBI probe on the basis of the FIR – was nothing but a bid to woo Muslim votes.

Those named in the FIR include retired UP DGP Vikram Singh, former ADG (Law & Order) Brij Lal, former Additional SP of the Special Task Force Manoj Kumar Jha and Deputy SP Chiranjeev Nath Sinha. UP BJP president said, “The BJP will provide every possible support and help the officials named in that FIR.” The party would garner public mandate in support of the officials, he added.

 

BACKGROUND

It is now a fact established by Justice Nimesh Commission that Special Task Force of U.P. Police picked up Tariq Qasmi on 12 December 2007 when he was on his way to Sarai Meer in Azamgarh from his village Sammopur on his motorcycle. The “abduction” was immediately reported by media and higher ups informed. There was a huge furore in the public which made headlines for several days. Similarly, Khalid Mujahid was picked up in the daylight from his village Mariahu’s market in District Jaunpur. But Special Task Force of U.P. showed them arrested from near Barabanki Railway Station with explosives including RDX on 22 December 2007.

The STF alleged that the duo was involved in blasts in the district courts of Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad that killed 14 and injured many. Four cases were filed against them in four different District Courts of Lucknow, Faizabad and Varanasi for blasts and in Barabanki for possessing RDX and other explosives but there was no progress yet in any case.

Previous regime of UP, after much hue and cry in public, instituted a one-man judicial commission to probe the matter on 14 March 2008. The Governor’s notification asked the one-man commission headed by Justice R.D. Nimesh, Retired District judge to complete the probe in 6 months, but he was allotted office space after 8 months of order on 8 November 2008 and a three men staff posted only on 14 January 2009. This shows how serious or otherwise was the previous regime in the probe.

The commission submitted the report in August 2012 to Akhilesh Yadav government and made it clear that the case made against duo in Barabaki is dubious. The commission also made 12 recommendations to deal with the cases of terror, but no cognizance has yet been taken by the State Government. It has not even made it public officially. Recently an application under section 321 of CrPC was moved to withdraw the Case No. 1891/07 in Barabanki court. This proved to be eyewash. Legal experts say that the application should have been moved under section 173(8) and attached with an affidavit by D.M. and a copy of Nimesh Commission report.

The death of Khalid Mujahid on 18 May 2013 has shaken Muslim confidence badly on SP Government. The Government must be firm on its commitments and take steps to establish the real culprits who masterminded elimination of a young under-trial. Steps should also be taken to establish special courts to clear all such cases. BJP is manoeuvring to exploit the situation and polarise Hindu votes. This is not a case of Hindu or Muslim but that of Human Rights and State Government must be sensitive to the gross violations of human rights.

[The writer is Gen. Sec, Forum for Civil Rights, email: syyedagha@hotmail.com]



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