Loni Assault Case: Contrasting Stories of Accused Parvesh & Adil
The Quint visited Loni in Ghaziabad and met several neighbours and family members of the accused in the case.
Black magic, charges of a communal assault, six accused, one victim, Uttar Pradesh Police and a Samajwadi Party leader — while these might appear unrelated at first, they are the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that the attack on 72-year-old Abdul Samad Saifi in Ghaziabad’s Loni has come to be.
While several people claimed that the attack on 5 June, in which the assailants also chopped off Saifi’s beard, was a communally motivated hate crime, the UP Police denied the communal angle and has registered an FIR against Twitter, The Wire and several journalists for allegedly "provoking communal sentiments”.
With this the case has become increasingly complex and multiple questions have emerged over the nature and motive of the crime as well as UP Police’s probe into the matter.
To piece this puzzle together, The Quint went to Loni and spoke to multiple stakeholders related to the incident. We met families and neighbours of the accused and spoke to officers at the Loni Border Police Station to find out who are three individuals who have been arrested by the police so far.
Parvesh Gujjar: The Main Accused
A resident of Banthla village in Ghaziabad, Parvesh’s family was not home when The Quint visited. Neighbours told us that they had fled right after the investigation began even as Parvesh remains in custody.
We managed to speak with his aunt Phoolvati who stays in the same locality. She defended Parvesh’s actions saying that the hafiz (Abdul Saifi) ruined his life and deserved being thrashed for it.
“He (Saifi) sold wrong amulets to Parvesh’s family due to which they suffered financial loss, his father met with an accident and his wife had a miscarriage. Is it wrong then, for Parvesh to hold him accountable for his actions? In fact, Parvesh should have registered a complaint against Saifi for destroying his family with the help of black magic.”Phoolvati, Parvesh Gujjar’s aunt
(While The Quint has not been able to speak to Abdul Samad Saifi and his family independently after the police version came to light, in an interview to AajTak, the 72-year-old has disputed the amulet theory saying that he never went to Ghaziabad to sell amulets or meet anyone called Parvesh Gujjar.)
Phoolvati told us that Parvesh owned a DJ business and a travel company, both of which suffered losses recently and had to be sold off. His family owns lands in Ghaziabad’s Banthla and Ghitora villages.
When asked if Parvesh has ever been involved in these activities in the past, she said that he has a clean record and this was a one-off incident. She also told us that Parvesh did not cut Saifi’s beard or force him to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ despite being shown a clear video evidence for the former.
“Parvesh is not a small time goon. Why will he randomly attack someone? He comes from a reputed family and his father has worked as a government official. People with vested interests are trying to malign the family’s name. Saifi is trying to communalise this incident. Nobody cut his beard and he wasn’t forced to chant anything.”Phoolvati, Parvesh Gujjar’s aunt
Parvesh’s extended family and neighbours in Ghitora village, however, have a different story to tell. His uncle Jaypal Tomar told The Quint that they severed ties with Parvesh’s family years ago over his "nefarious" activities. While Tomar refused to comment when asked to elaborate on what “nefarious activities” was he referring to, Kartar Singh a local BJP member from the village claimed that Parvesh has been hauled up for being involved in cases of extortion and theft in the past.
“We condemn the manner in which the elderly Muslim man was attacked. Nobody’s religious identify should be assaulted under any circumstances. The accused Parvesh has previously been involved in cases involving several unlawful activities like extortion, bribery, theft etc and this could’ve been another such case,” Kartar Singh told The Quint.
This claim was also corroborated by Ghaziabad Police officials who told us that Parvesh had recently been booked for an extortion case by one of his neighbours.
Aadil: Perpetrator, Rescuer or Mediator?
As the case developed, several conflicting accounts have emerged on Aadil’s alleged involvement in the incident. While the UP Police is relying on his arrest to challenge claims stating that the incident was communal in nature, Aadil’s family has come out to say that he reached the spot only after the crime was committed.
“Why would a Muslim forcibly cut another Muslim’s beard and force him to chant Jai Shri Ram?“ asked Faisal, Aadil’s elder brother challenging the claim made by the cops.
A copper factory owner, Aadil was friends with Parvesh as the latter frequented a gym owned by Aadil’s family.
Aadil’s village Behta Hazipur is a few kilometers from Banthala, where Saifi was beaten up. As per initial reports, Saifi who hails from Bulandhsahr was visiting his relatives in Behta Hazipur when he was allegedly picked by goons in an auto-rickshaw.
Locals told The Quint that Aadil’s family owns gyms, land and factories in the area.
“Our family has lived in this area for more than 200 years. This house itself is a 100 years old. We are respected people in our community and people from nearby villages come to us to help settle disputes. This is why Intizar, who was with Parvesh at the time of the incident called Aadil. He wanted us to mediate on the issue.”Faisal, Aadil’s Brother
Aadil’s neighbours in Behta Hazipur further told us that he is being falsely implicated in a case where local politicians are trying to communalise the narrative. “While the politicians are trying to falsely give a communal tone to the incident, the UP police is using Adil as a scapegoat to prove them wrong,” they said.
When asked if chopping off Saifi’s beard by the accused, makes the incident communal in nature, Faisal said that the incident was a personal feud settled in a communal manner.
“Saifi was a frequent visitor to Parvesh’s house. The attack was a result of personal enmity between the two parties. However, Parvesh’s men chopped off Saifi’s beard to seek revenge, an act which is communal in nature.”Faisal, Aadil’s Brother
He further added that communal or not, Aadil and his men reached the spot much later and have nothing to do with the incident.
We also reached out to Ghaziabad Police to inquire about Aadil’s past record. The officials told us that his records are clear and he has had no cases against him in the past.
In addition to Parvesh and Aadil, Loni Police has identified four others — Kallu Gujjar, Polly, Aarif, and Mushahid — as accused in the case. While Kallu is in police custody, the other three are absconding. The Quint reached out to families of Parvesh and Aadil who had no details about Kallu and others. Further, the Ghaziabad Police also refused to divulge any details about them saying that their role in the crime is still under investigation.
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