Remembering Raees, Saif, Aftab: Parents Struggle to Get FIRs Filed

Before dying, the 3 men told their families the police shot bullets at them. UP Police has denied these allegations.

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“I do not trust the police. When the police did not register our FIR, did not help us in any way, did not show us any sympathy whatsoever, why would I trust them?” 70-year-old Mohd Sharif, Mohd Raees’ father, said while sitting outside his home in Begum Purwa in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur.

His 30-year-old son Raees, and 25-year-old Saif and 23-year-old Aftab, were the three men who died due to bullet injuries in the violence that broke out on 20 December 2019, between the UP Police and anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protesters in Kanpur.

In our series called CAA: Lest We Forget, where we track what happened on the ground once year since the Act was passed, The Quint met the three families who told this reporter that before dying their sons had told them that they saw the police shooting bullets at them. Relying on these claims, the family has visited the police station several times to get an investigation into their son’s death going. However, the police has told them what they had told us. That the three men had died in firing between rioters, and not one of them died due to the police firing bullets.

Sharif believes the police is trying to suppress his voice. “They are going to try and use every way to suppress us. So, go ahead, try. If we must die by your hands, we will die,” he said.

All three families are being represented by Kanpur-based advocate Nasser Khan in the case, who they claim, is being pressurised by the police to get the family to agree to a compromise. Khan said that he has not only being pressurised, but even being issued death threats to silence the matter.

“These threats are an everyday affair for me. Many people are threatening me to give up defending these cases. They are my clients and must be safe. My faith is advocating for my client. People have also told me that I should drop the cases or I could lose my life. Sure, let that happen. If I get scared I will not be able to do my job,” Khan told The Quint, adding that if the dying declarations of the three men had been recorded, the cases would have been registered right then.

“This is the negligence of the police that they did not record dying declarations. If someone is dying, it is logical that they would record their statements in front of a magistrate or a higher official. Why did they get late? It would have all been clear then itself. This is the responsibility of the government,” he said.

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