Kashmiri Boy’s Death: Jaipur Top Cop Counters ‘Hate Crime’ Claim
[UPDATE: Reacting to The Quint's report, Jaipur Police Commissioner Anand Srivastava, said:
"During the wedding season in Jaipur, young boys and girls from Kashmir come to work at weddings to be waiters and waitresses. Often contractors at weddings ask each other for people when they need more people, on the basis of the scale of the wedding, to work. Maslooq, who is based out of Maharashtra, is one of them. There was a wedding at Jaipur for which Maslooq asked a Kashmiri contractor, Faisal, who has worked here for seven years now, for more people where Basit and Sufyan were sent. They wedding lasted for three days. Around 1:45 all the events ended on 5 February, after eating they came out. There were two Tata Magic cars to drop these workers back home. There were 20 people of which nine were girls and 11 boys. The driver, who was from Bihar, was sleeping. By speaking to these boys and girls we have come to know that he was a man with a temper Basit, the deceased, was tired and began knocking on the door. The main accused stopped him saying this might anger the driver further. There was a fight between Basit and Aditya. Aditya hit him blow after blow on his head. Those who were present there intervened and stopped him. Then they left. But in the beating, unfortunately, Basit suffered from internal bleeding. The doctor did a CT scan but after 15-odd hours he passed away. This is the incident, it is not a case of hate crime. The main accused, Aditya, has also been arrested."]
“Jaipur se hum ek ek Kashmiri ko nikal denge,” (We will take every Kashmiri out of Jaipur) Sufyan Rafiq, the only eyewitness to Basit Khan’s beating told The Quint on Friday, 7 February, a day after Khan succumbed to his injuries in a hospital in Jaipur.
A 17-year-old Kashmiri boy, Basit Khan, who was doing a part-time job in Jaipur to support his family was thrashed by a group on the night of 5 February. The police has arrested four people in the case till now.
Khan succumbed to his injuries at 8:30 pm on the night of 6 February and, by the afternoon of 7 February, his body was sent via a private ambulance to Kashmir.
Basit belonged to a poor family from Kupwara in Kashmir. His father died in 2012. He was the oldest in the house, with three younger sisters and a brother. “The family has had to pay Rs 30,000 to get the body to Kashmir. They are very poor and he had come here to work to help the family financially. He was in class 11 and was doing part-time work at an events company to make some money.”
Abused, Told ‘Kashmiris Will Be Thrown Out of Jaipur’
Basit and Rafiq, both from Kashmir, went to work at an event on the evening of 5 February. When the event ended, they got into a fight with a few other boys on the organising team. “Basit wanted to sit in front as he was tired. This enraged a boy from Mumbai and he held on to Basit’s collar. They started beating him up. One of the boys, Aditya, was repeatedly hitting Basit on the head,” Rafiq, an eyewitness to the beating, told The Quint.
Rafiq said they held him down so he could not help Basit. “After beating him the driver dropped us a few kms away from our home. In the cab, the boys kept complaining about the increasing number of Kashmiri’s at work. After getting dropped, he and I walked and walked. He kept falling. As soon as we reached home he began to cry. Then he started vomiting. In the cab on the way to the hospital, he fell unconscious.”
Rafiq said the doctors operated on him but said his chances of survival were meagre. He died at 8:30 pm on 6 February.
Eyewitness Being ‘Threatened’
Rafiq went to the police station to register an FIR, a copy of which is with The Quint.
His statement has been recorded by the Rajasthan Police and the accused have been booked under Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on 6 February.
After Basit’s death on 7 February, the police incorporated the Section 303 of the IPC (murder) into the FIR.
“These boys who were present there dissuaded me from filing the FIR. When I said I was definitely going to, another boy straight up threatened me. He said, “Tum mein se ek coma mein hai, tera number bhi aajayega (One of you is already in coma, you will be next).”
Assistant Commissioner of Police in Jaipur Ashok Gupta has said said the incident was not a case of hate crime. He added that the victim was not attacked for his religious identity or even linked to the state he belonged to.
Rajasthan Police has arrested four people in the case as of now. Maslooq, the handler of the boys, who was calling and threating Sufyan has also been arrested. “One of them is Aditya and as per the complaint, he is the one who hit Basit on his head repeatedly,” a police official said. He added the investigation in the case is underway and the accused will be arrested.
[NOTE: This story, first published on 7 February, 2020, was updated on 8 February, with the Jaipur police commissioner’s reaction. Story’s details have also been updated to reflect the latest reaction by the authorities.]