Meat Seller Dies in UP, Wife Blames Police While They Deny Claims
Aquil, who was a meat seller in Khurja in Bulandshahr’s UP, was taken to four hospitals before he died.
26-year-old Shahana is inconsolable, her husband Aquil Qureshi who has been booked in a few cow slaughter cases in UP’s Bulandshahr, died after the police confronted him at his residence.
The incident happened on the intervening night of 23 and 24 May, around 1:00 am. While the police claim that Qureshi, in his mid-30s, died when he tried to escape from the spot, as he is a wanted criminal, his wife and kids who are eyewitnesses say that they saw the police beat and push him.
“I stood on the terrace, was shivering in fear. In front of me they kicked him and pushed him off the terrace. They abused me and said they will throw me too. They did not take a second and left right away. My kids are very small, what am I supposed to do, can you tell me what I should do?” she asks repeatedly.
Shahana recalls what happened, “There were three policemen who came, they started asking my husband for money. He is a meat seller, so these policemen would keep coming to take different sums, in every one week, 15 days, or in a month. My husband would be scared and would pay, and would not even tell me about it in detail. When I asked him why he was constantly paying them, he would not answer properly.”
She says that due to the lockdown, there was not enough money to eat, and the meat shop was also closed. “So, when they asked for Rs 5,000 this time, all he said was that he would give it the next morning. They got angry and held onto his collar and said they needed the money right away. He repeated himself, saying that he wouldn’t go right away but would go in the morning. They hit him, kicked him, and pushed him off the terrace. I saw it.”
These allegations have also been repeated by their daughters, two of whom were on the terrace when this alleged incident happened. “We saw the police use the butt of the gun to hit our father on the head, he had started bleeding after that. Then they abused him and threw him off the terrace. When we went down to see our father, there was some substance jutting out of his injured and bloody head,” his daughters said.
The police instantly left thereafter and Shahana screamed to get help.
The family then took Aquil to three hospitals between 24 May and 27 May. Eventually, he died on 27 May at a private hospital in Delhi after being referred to one from Aligarh. His wife, and his cousin Tahir, could not recall the name of the hospital. She said, “We are illiterate people. I am in a state of panic. What will I do about my kids?”
Tahir says they tried to get the matter heard in the police station, but when they got no support they went and met the SP Crime on Saturday, 29 May, who told them that an investigation will happen. “Aap befikar rahiye, dariya mat. Poora aashwasan diya prashasan aapki maddat karega.” (You do not worry, do not be scared at all. He told us that the administration will support us.)
Tahir said the SDM of the area has also said that they will look into the matter.
“Even if my brother was wrong, all I am saying is that there should have been a judicial process to finding him guilty rather than this,” he added.
Police Flatly Deny the Allegations
When asked if the three men had asked Aquil for money and pushed him off the terrace, SP (rural) Bulandshahr Harendra Kumar said, “The person was a criminal and the police had gone there to meet him. Firstly, the family said that he was not at home and did not open the door for us, which is when he made a run from the terrace and fell and injured himself.”
“Neither did anyone go there, nor did our policemen beat him up,” Kumar said.
He had gone to jail several times for cow slaughter and was wanted.
“He has jumped like this before as well. It seems this time, however, when he jumped he hurt himself.”
When asked if any inquiries will happen, considering the promises made by the SDM and SP City to the family. “Yes an inquiry is underway, the report should come out in a week,” he said.
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