Hapur Lynching: Main Accused’s Bail Suggests Gaps in Investigation
Hapur court granted the main accused bail saying that the probe does not show that he had pre-planned the lynching.
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Loopholes in the investigation of the Hapur lynching case came to the fore after the main accused, Yudhishthir Sisodia, was granted bail by a district court merely 20 days after the incident.
A 39-year-old Muslim cattle trader, Qasim and 65-year-old Samiuddin were beaten up by a mob in Hapur’s Bajhera Khurd village on 18 June. While the former succumbed to his injuries, Samiuddin is still recovering.
Although the Hapur police had registered a case under IPC Sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) against Yudhishthir Sisodia and four other accused, the court order states the FIR and the police case diary does not hold a strong case against Yudhishthir. His bail has been granted against a bond of Rs 1 lakh by the Hapur session court. Another accused, Rakesh Sisodia, has also applied for bail and his hearing is due on 19 July.
The Hapur police, who had initially insisted that the lynching was due to “road rage”, had later admitted that the village mob was fed with rumours of cow slaughter.
Speaking to The Quint, the family of the victims and their lawyers allege that the investigation has been botched up and the case diluted by the police from the beginning.
‘We Will Not Let Another Qasim Die, We Will Fight’
Qasim’s younger brother, Mohammed Salim was taken by surprise when the accused got bail since the police had assured them of presenting a strong case against the culprits.
It is not easy to get bail in these cases. We don’t know how he was granted bail. But we will not let him go. We will go to the high court and if need be, we’ll go to the Supreme Court. We don’t want him to kill another Qasim.Mohammed Salim, Qasim’s younger brother
Salim said they had not hired any lawyer when the bail application was being heard in the court and neither were they intimated about the developments of the case.
“We did not have any lawyer at that time. Samiuddin’s family had hired a lawyer to fight the case but even he was not informed about the bail hearing. We have never been involved in any court matters so we don’t know how this works,” Salim told The Quint.
The Cops Diluted the Case: Lawyers
Speaking to The Quint, the recently-hired lawyers of Qasim’s family, Adv Shahid and Adv Javed, accused the police of hiding the real facts and trying to dilute the case. They said they will appeal to the higher authorities to transfer the investigation to CBI.
The police is not letting the real facts come in front. The crucial videos have not yet been made a part of the investigation. They are trying to dilute the case. Clearly there is some external pressure on them.Adv Javed told The Quint
Have the Crucial Videos Been Made a Part of the Investigation?
Days after the incident, two videos from the spot had gone viral which corroborated the claims of the residents of the two villages – the Thakur-dominated Bajhera Khurd and the neighbouring Muslim-dominated Madapur – who had insisted that the brawl broke out over cattle.
In the first video, Qasim can be seen lying on the ground, pleading for water as a group of men look on.
The second video begins with a voice asking Samiuddin to reveal the names of all those present with him in the field. Samiuddin is asked to admit that he was in the field to slaughter cows and not get fodder, as people are seen pushing him, pulling his beard, thrashing him and hurling filthy abuses at him.
DSP Pawan Kumar Singh and Investigating Officer Laxman Verma told The Quint that all evidences in the case, including the two videos, have been made part of the investigation. Singh said Yudhisthir was arrested on the basis of the videos but when The Quint asked him to identify the man, he showed a screenshot of a different video where Yudhisthir Sisodia is seen standing in the field with two or three other men behind him. When asked to show the full video, Singh refused.
Refuting the claims of the police, Yudhishthir’s nephew Pankaj Kumar told The Quint, “If there is a dispute in the village, and I go and stand in the vicinity, does it mean that I am a party to the dispute? There is no evidence against my uncle.”
On 11 July, The Quint visited Bajhera Khurd, Yudhisthir’s native but did not find him at his home. His family members claimed that the bail formalities have not been over yet.
‘Yudhisthir Sisodia Has Been Falsely Implicated’
Kumar further claimed that Yudhisthir was at home when the incident happened and he went to the spot only after getting a call. He added, “My uncle went to the field to check because he got a call that two people have been held for slaughtering cows. But he did not find any evidence of cow slaughter.”
He said, Yudhisthir and Rakesh Sisodia were the ones to inform the police after which the cops had called him to the police station in the evening and later arrested them in a false case. When The Quint visited Bajhera Khurd village two days after the incident, Rakesh Sisodia’s wife had also claimed that the police has false implicated her husband.
Was There any Road Accident at All?
Pankaj Kumar revealed that his uncle was also involved in an incident of road rage minutes before the two men were beaten up. “My uncle was coming through the fields on his bike when he got into a brawl with the Madapur men. But that was a regular scuffle. He came back home after that and minutes later got to know that these two men were being thrashed over cow slaughter suspicion.”
The family lawyers also claimed that 14 criminal cases, including cases of murder and attempt to murder, were pending since 2006 against Yudhisthir Sisodia. However, Sisodia’s nephew said all those cases were related to a local land dispute and had nothing to do with murder.
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