29, Aug 2018 | CJP Team
On Republic Day this year, Kasganj town of Uttar Pradesh became the scene of violent communal clashes where a young man Chandan Gupta lost his life. While it was initially claimed that the riot was triggered by members of the minority community who tried to prevent members of the majority community from taking out a bike rally, this turned out to be far from the truth. This special investigation unearths a dark conspiracy wherein the police showed their communal colours and actually tried to frame the Muslims and save the Hindus.
The report titled Truth of Kasganj: Sham Police Probe Protects Hindus, Frames Muslims is endorsed by several human rights organisations such as Alliance for Justice and Accountability, New York • Citizens for Justice and Peace, Mumbai • Indian American Muslim Council, Washington D.C. • Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties, New Delhi • South Asia Solidarity Group, London • and United Against Hate, New Delhi.
According to this report, the violence had broken out at Abdul Hamid Chowk were members of the Muslim community were about to hoist the tricolour, when bike borne members of the Hindu community interrupted them and started heckling them using obscene slurs. But even though it was just one instance of violence, the police registered two FIRs; the first about the clashes, the second about the death of Chandan Gupta. It is the second FIR that exclusively names Muslims as accused, even though Hindus were also carrying and discharging firearms. Moreover, even though the incident occurred a mere stone’s throw from the local police station, the FIRs were filed after 12-14 hours.
Interestingly, a wounded Chandan was first taken to this very police station and it was the police that arranged his transfer to the hospital where he was declared dead. The hospital also sent a memo to the police station informing them about Chandan’s death and yet the FIR wasn’t filed at that time. In fact, in a huge procedural lapse, an autopsy was carried on Chandan’s body without the FIR having been filed!
Interestingly, though police arrested 19 Muslim youth within two weeks of the incident, no Hindu was arrested for over two months! This brings the report to the manner in which Anukalp Chauhan, the young man who organised the motorcycle rally was let off with just a slap on the wrist. First during the FIR stage, the police declared him absconding. Yet he was present at the funeral of Chandan Gupta the following day. Then on February 2, an officer met Chauhan to record his statement in connection with the second FIR. In a mockery of justice, while we was made an accused in the first FIR, he was made a witness in the second! He was finally arrested after two whole months and then promptly released on bail!
There are also discrepancies in the recording of location (Bilram Gate Crossing vs Abdul Hamid Chowk) and timing of the clashes (9:30 am vs 10 am). The police have allegedly not taken the CCTV footage into account and three accuse dallegedly have alibis. The report concluded by asking for quashing the tainted FIRs, a fresh investigation, a high level inquiry into police failure to prevent violence as well as their alleged complicity in framing members of the minority community. The entire report may be read here:
Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has in a complaint to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), urged a suo motu notice and investigation into the perpetrated violence against minorities in Kasganj, Uttar Pradesh. A copy of the complaint may be read here.
Feature Image: Kasganj (UP): More than 80 persons were arrested while Rapid Action Force (RAF) and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel intensified vigil in Kasganj on Sunday. PTI Photo (PTI1_28_2018_000206B)