Earlier this year, soon after the national Covid-19 lockdown was imposed, a section of the Uttar Pradesh police claimed that crime in western UP had fallen by 70 per cent in April 2020, compared to the same period last year. This was stated by the UP Police’s Meerut Zone as reported in the Indian Express. The area police had stated that the region recorded 35 murders in that month against 50 in the corresponding period in 2019, while robberies went down from 992 to 114. There were 16 kidnappings and seven cases of rape in the area in April, 2020 against 110 and 34 last year. The police are reported to have attributed the fall to policing and lockdown restrictions.
It is now September, and the lockdown is slowly being lifted according to the Covid-19 situation in each state. However, major crimes, some heinous, continue to make it to the news from UP. Some are shared as viral videos and photographs.
According to a day old police report in IE, a 25-year-old identified as Aryaman Yadav was seen running around the terrace of a house and shooting in the air. He was overpowered by a group of villagers who thrashed him with sticks and stones. Aryaman died of the injuries sustained. According to news reports, in the videos of the lynching, policemen can be seen present at the spot. The mob beat this 25-year-old man to death after he allegedly shot dead a government school teacher at Rampur Bangra village in Kushinagar district of Uttar Pradesh on Monday reported the IE. Eventually the local station house officer, Harendra Kumar Mishra, was suspended for negligence, stated the report.
According to police, Aryaman went to 35-year-old Sudhir Singh’s ancestral home at Rampur Bangra village in the morning and told Sudhir’s family that he had come from Gorakhpur and was a friend of Sudhir’s elder brother Rajesh Singh. The Singh family allowed him to come and asked him to wait in the drawing-room as Sudhir was taking a shower. “When Sudhir entered the drawing-room, Aryaman immediately pulled out a pistol and shot Sudhir in his chest. Sudhir died on the spot,” Circle Officer (Tamkuhiraj) Phool Chand Ram was quoted by IE.
On hearing gunfire, some villagers rushed towards Sudhir’s residence, in an attempt to escape, Aryaman ran towards the terrace of Sudhir’s house, brandishing the gun and threatening to shoot. He also fired in the air twice. A police team, too, reached the spot and asked Aryaman to surrender, but he fired at the policemen, stated the report. According to police, Aryaman came down from the terrace and ran towards a room in Sudhir’s house when the villagers overpowered him and beat him to death. Sudhir was a government teacher at a primary school in the neighbouring Gopalganj district in Bihar. The Police is yet to ascertain the motive behind the murder. The investigation is on, they state.
Another video soon surfaced on social media that showed a man being thrashed mercilessly by another, while both are behind bars in a police cell. The incident is from Hapur.
#यूपी में एक और #लिंचिंग#हापुड़ – शराब के ठेके में बंद करके युवक पर बरसाई लाठियां।
यूपी में कानून कहां कोई पता करो !
@Uppolice @rohini_sgh @vinodkapri @abhisar_sharma @pankhuripathak @Ashok_Kashmir @juhiesingh @umashankarsingh @Benarasiyaa @ManojSinghKAKA @SanjayAzadSln pic.twitter.com/5FCQU0Zig5
— Prashant Shukla (प्रशान्त शुक्ल) (@JournoPrashant) September 7, 2020
Here, the police state that both the accused have been arrested, and an NCR registered by police station Hapur. “Advance legal action is being taken,” they stated.
उक्त प्रकरण में थाना हापुड़ नगर पुलिस द्वारा एनसीआर पंजीकृत कर दोनों अभियुक्तों को गिरफ्तार कर लिया गया है।
अग्रिम विधिक कार्यवाही की जा रही है।
— HAPUR POLICE (@hapurpolice) September 8, 2020
Seeking justice in the murder of his son, a Noida, UP resident Gulshan Kumar Kalra, seemed to have signed up on Twitter with a single focus this month, “Our beloved son Akshay Kalra was murdered just 100 meters away from our home in affluent Sector 62 Noida, ruining our family forever. This heinous act was perpetuated due to rising crime and incompetence @Uppolice,” he posted. The grieved father (sic) has voiced what many are afraid to say about UP’s crime graph rising faster than Covid-19 cases in the state. “We request everyone to fight #JusticeForAkshayKalra,” he added.
Our beloved son Akshay Kalra was murdered just 100 meters away from our home in affluent Sector 62 Noida, ruining our family forever. This heinous act was perpetuated due to rising crime and incompetence @Uppolice. We request everyone to fight #JusticeForAkshayKalra 1/2 pic.twitter.com/EtByISwT4y
— Gulshan Kumar Kalra (@Gulshan76571060) September 7, 2020
And the worst of the last two days is the case of the taxi driver who was attacked with a key, and allegedly asked to chant ‘Jai Sree Ram’. The dying man’s son recorded his last phone call home, where he did not speak, but the attackers could be heard. The 45-year-old cab driver was killed in Greater Noida, stated multiple news reports. His family alleged that it was a communal hate crime. However, the local police have denied that claim. According to news reports, the police have said that the victim, Aftab Alam, was found injured in his cab in Badalpur area in Greater Noida, following which he was admitted to a nearby hospital where he died during treatment.
A report in the Hindustan Times states that police confirmed Alam, who lived in Delhi’s Trilokpuri area, had first picked up a passenger from Gurgaon on Sunday night, through a ride hailing mobile application. The drop location was somewhere in Bulandshahr, and while returning he was attacked in Badalpur. “A patrolling vehicle that was passing by found the Delhi-registered taxi parked along the Badalpur-Dadri bypass road. When checked, the victim was found severely injured on the seat adjoining the driver’s seat. The police rushed him to a hospital where he died during treatment,” deputy commissioner of police, central Noida, Harish Chander said in a media statement. An FIR has been lodged at the Badalpur police station under IPC sections 302 (murder) and 394 (voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery), the police said. They added they have identified the suspects and a search is on to arrest them.
However, Alam’s kin have alleged and told the media that he was lynched by three suspects after picking up the three passengers, “My father noticed something unusual with the activities of the three. He made a phone call to me and placed his mobile phone by the side without uttering a word. I recorded 41 minute audio. At 8:39 minutes, the three persons asked my father to utter – Jai Shri Ram,” alleged Sabir Mohammed, the slain driver’s son. The family contacted the Mayur Vihar police station and the police traced the call’s last location to Chithera village in Badalpur police station area in Greater Noida. Eventually, the family reached the location, then the hospital to discover that the cab driver was dead. “We suspect he was lynched by those suspects in a hate crime,” alleged Sabir, adding that he had asked the Badalpur police to mention the content of audio in the FIR but the police had assured that they will investigate the audio and add it later.
The HT reports that Harish Chander, deputy commissioner of police, Noida Central, however, said this is not a case of lynching. “The suspects were asking some vendor to chant Jai Shri Ram, and not to the taxi driver. We have identified the suspects through CCTV cameras from a toll plaza and launched a search to arrest them. The suspect had boarded the cab from Bulandshahr. Later the case will be transferred to the concerned district,” Chander said.
इस प्रकरण में मुकदमा पंजीकृत है, विवेचना जारी है। जहां तक ऑडियो रिकॉर्डिंग का प्रश्न है उसको सुना गया है, मृतक को कोई भी नारा लगाने के लिए नहीं कहा गया है बल्कि किसी और से खरीदारी करते वक्त ये वाक्य आया है फिर भी हर बिंदू पर विवेचना प्रचलित है। https://t.co/RetXe4iaND
— POLICE COMMISSIONERATE NOIDA (@noidapolice) September 7, 2020
Wait, it gets worse, The Wire reports that a Dalit man died after being lynched by a group of men allegd to be members of a rightwing organisation. The incident is from Sunday evening, where five men assaulted 45-year-old Sarvesh Diwakar, he died on Monday in Uttar Pradesh’s Mainpuri. Opposition parties have alleged that the five were members of the rightwing Hindu organisation, Bajrang Dal, reported The Wire. The police are reportedly “unconvinced of the five men’s political affiliation.”
Mainpuri police released a statement urging people not to spread rumours while denying any Bajrang Dal links with the assault, “We have not established any connection of the accused men to any outfit so far. In the eyes of the law they are mere criminals. Please do not spread rumours.” However local media reports claimed that Diwakar, a daily wage worker, was targeted by the five accused after rumours spread that he had sold off his daughter. He is said to have sent the girl to stay with relatives, apparently so she could continue her studies there as the lockdown left Diwakar jobless. He also sent his wife to another relative’s house in Kolkata, a reporter who covered the incident told The Wire.
While a video of his assault which went viral on social media showing five men kicking and slapping Diwakar even as he appeared to plead for mercy. However, the mob continued to beat him until he was immobile. According to The Wire, Police claimed they have arrested four of the five involved in the crime. The Opposition is collecting political fodder for sure, as crimes rage on in Uttar Pradesh. However, Chief Minister Adityanath, is yet to share any concrete plans for stopping this rise in crime in his state which he had envisioned will be rid of the scourge under his government.
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