“I am Mohhamad Sabir, son of Aftab Alam, who was lynched to death on September 6. It has been one and a half months, there has been no arrest, no update given to us by the police. we are on a twitter campaign #AftabAlamKoInsaafDo. I request all of you to join us. please share this, pin it on your page. Please help me get justice for my father,” with his hands folded young man is seeking support on social media.
Aftab Alam’s son, Md Sabir questions why after 45 days @Uppolice has still not arrested those who lynched his father. He is the one who heard on phone people asking his father to chant JSR before killing him. He urges people to demand that #AftabAlamKoInsaafDo. pic.twitter.com/9sEidSgNHQ
— Nabiya Khan | نبیہ خان (@NabiyaKhan11) October 21, 2020
Sabir had earlier told the police and the media that in the last phone call he received from is father, he could hear some people ordering Aftab Alam to chant ‘Jai Sree Ram’, a traditional prayerful exultation and greeting, now used in an aggressive tone, almost as a war cry, by those who want to threaten and attack minority communities, women, Dalits, both online, and on ground. The Uttar Pradesh Police had denied this allegation long ago:
— POLICE COMMISSIONERATE NOIDA (@noidapolice) September 7, 2020
Alam, a taxi driver was reportedly attacked with a key, and allegedly asked to chant ‘Jai Sree Ram’, he had called his son Sabir, and the phone line stayed live and connected even as he was being attacked. Sabir recorded his father’s last phone call home, where he said, the attackers could be heard. The 45-year-old cab driver was killed in Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh, stated multiple news reports. His family alleged that it was a communal hate crime. However, the local police denied that claim. According to news reports, the police 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 had stated 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 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, the slain driver’s son. The family had first 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 then took him to the hospital where he died. “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 reported 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 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.
That was the last Aftab Alam’s son heard from the police. Nearly, two months after his death the family has stood firm and continues to assert their allegation that Alam was lynched.
Perhaps, risking his own life in the processm Sabir is asking the most basic question since yesterday, “What is the update on the murder of my father?” However, apart from civil society support to amplify his appeal for justice, the Uttar Pradesh police’s social media pages are full of all kinds of information, but silent on this.