Days after a video of a young man being harassed by a mob of inside a car went viral, the family has alleged that he died of injuries after being beaten by Bajrang Dal's cow protection vigilantes. But the police has claimed that it was a car accident that resulted in his death.
The man, 21-year-old Waris Khan was a car mechanic in Haryana's Nuh district and hailed from Hussainpur village. The purported video, from the wee hours of Saturday, 28 January, shows Waris being aggressively shoved in a car along with two other men, following which the videographer asks them to tell their names on camera.
Speaking to The Quint, Waris' elder brother Imran said that the video was accessed from a Facebook live of a Bajrang Dal member called Monu Manesar. The video was deleted soon after, but by then it had been downloaded and circulated by many.
"Waris had been called by someone to come and fix their vehicle. That's where he was headed when men from the Bajrang Dal chased their car and hit it from behind. They then shoved them all in their car and beat them up," alleges Imran.
The family says that when they woke up the next morning they were informed by villagers of the live video that was posted around 5:30 am. After spending hours looking for Waris, they were told that he has been admitted in the government medical college in Nalhar.
"But by the time we reached there, we were told that Waris has passed away," he says.
Imran says that Nafis, one of the three men in the car who is currently admitted in the hospital, told Waris' family that the Bajrang Dal men beat up the three of them.
FIR Against Deceased But None Against Bajrang Dal
The police, however, claims that Waris and the two other men were in an accident with another car.
"The car, being driven by Waris, was carrying a cow. It collided with another car from the front, and Waris and others sustained injuries. They were then admitted to a hospital where Waris passed away. Prima facie, it looks like he died of the internal injuries caused from the accident," Balbir Bhardwaj, in charge of the Khori Kalan police station told The Quint. The accident allegedly took place near the Khori Kalan police chowki.
The police says that they have registered a complaint against the three men in the car, including Waris, under multiple IPC sections such as 298 (wounding religious feelings deliberately), 337 (negligent or rash behavior) as well as the Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act.
In another video, seen by The Quint, the mob can be seen with guns in their hands, holding the three men by the collars. It is unclear when the Bajrang Dal men showed up at the spot and made the purported video, and if it was before the police's arrival or after.
When asked if any FIR has been registered against the Bajrang Dal members, the police said no. "No FIR against them so far, but we are investigating the matter," said Balbir Bhardwaj.
Arvind Kumar, SHO Tauru police station told the media that the police has “no information” about the Bajrang Dal’s involvement in the case yet.
The family says they refuse to believe Waris died due to any accident. “The video is after this accident took place. And you can see Waris sitting comfortably, without any injuries. He is being taken from one car to another, he is responding to all questions. How can such a man then just die? He was obviously beaten by the mob, which resulted in his death,” alleges Imran.
The police says that Waris’ body has been sent for a post-mortem and the picture will be clearer when the report comes out in the next few days.
Waris leaves behind his wife and 3-month-old child. In the days since his death, villagers have been protesting outside the Nalhar hospital, demanding that an inquiry be initiated against the Bajrang Dal men.
(With inputs from Parvez Khan.)