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'My Father Was Killed by a Man He Used to Help': Son of Pratapgarh Maulana

"Father always helped him and gave him the benefit of doubt. Today, he killed him over a piece of land."

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(Trigger Warning: This story contains details of some graphic violence).

In a cold-blooded murder, renowned cleric Maulana Farooq, 67, general secretary of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind in Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh was brutally killed in Sonpur village on Saturday, 8 June. The killing sparked tensions locally with locals demanding 'immediate justice' and arrest of the accused.

One of his sons, an aggrieved Mufti Mamoon, told The Quint:

"We never had any dispute or conflict with the accused before. He used to visit us at our home often. Even during Ramzan, he confided in us that he needed help, so we gave him grains so he could feed his family."

Farooq used to run a madrasa in Kadipur village and had become a helping hand to the main accused Chandramani Tiwari. But what provoked Tiwari to kill the Muslim cleric all of a sudden?

Amid all conjectures, Mamoon clarified what happened.

He said that on Saturday morning, Tiwari called the Muslim cleric to meet him. Because Farooq and his family helped Tiwari routinely with work and finances, he did not suspect any foul play.

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'Hit With Axe, Iron Rods On Head'

Tiwari asked him about a piece of land. He made Farooq sit on the chair and told him to divide the land, recalled his son. "This piece of land had never been a point of contention up until now," added Mamoon.

"The next moment, the accused hit him hard on his head with axe, iron rods and killed him. His head was profusely bleeding. What made him so rabid? The land was only used for his benefit and my father had gone to help to see if he needed help."
Mufti Mamoon, Maulana's son

Mamoon recalled that every time Tiwari needed something, he said, 'Khet alag karna hain,' and then went on to talk about things he really needed and his father helped him with it giving him the benefit of doubt.

This '10 biswa' land (around 13,500 sq ft) was bought by Mualana's family 10 years ago. This land was tacitly left with Tiwari so he could sustain his family. In fact, Tiwari, a daily wage labourer, had also taken a loan of Rs 8 lakh from Farooq. Knowing his financial position, the cleric had told him not to worry about it and to repay only when he can.

On the other hand, Mamoon also maintained that there is no "communal angle" to the incident, "although some people are saying that it was also communally-driven, but I don't think so. I still don't know if he killed him because he was told do so by someone."

As Farooq's body with his bleeding head lay on the ground, it fueled an uproar among the locals, to the point that police forces not only from Pratapgarh but nearby areas also reigned in.

Farooq's son said that even though the DM said there was a crowd of around 50,000 people, it was not the case. Despite protests by the villagers, no one broke any law and order situation.

Speaking to The Quint, SHO, Dharmendra Singh said, "It was neither a property dispute or a communal crime per say, the accused alleged that he had given some money in advance which he wanted to be returned to him."

Singh added that the FIR was filed on the day of the case, it includes charges such as 302 IPC (punishment for murder) against five people.

"Two have been arrested, Devi Prasad and Tiwari's wife, Sita as search for other three is underway," he noted.

Earlier, SP Pratapgarh, Satpal Antil had spoken to media and also said that Farooq's body was sent for postmortem the same day.

Meanwhile, the family has demanded protection for their members, a job and timely action against the accused, he said.

Now, senior officials are at the spot in the village and security has been tightened in the area. The family, on the other hand, is grieving the loss of one of the revered clerics on the ground.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Uttar Pradesh   Muslims   Muslims in India 

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