Noida hate crime survivor approaches SC seeking fair investigation

Kazeem Ahmad Sherwani, alleged he was attacked because of his Muslim identity; seeks impartial investigation and action against police officials who allegedly refused to act on his complaint

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Remember 62 year old Kazeem Ahmad Sherwani, who had survived a violent hate attack in Noida in July 2021? Sherwani who had allegedly been attacked for his “visible Muslim identitiy”, has approached the Supreme Court seeking a “fair and impartial investigation” as well as “action against police officials who allegedly refused to take action on his complaint.”  

On Friday, the Supreme Court bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar granted liberty to petitioner to serve advance copy on the respondents, and also tagged the petition with other writ petitions dealing with hate speech, stated news reports. Justice AM Khanwilkar the presiding Judge of the bench reportedly said, “There are other matters of hate speech pending. We’ll list along with that.”

According to a report in Live Law, Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the petitioner, while submitting that the matter required urgent consideration, relied on the directions issued by the top court in Tehseen Poonawala v Union ofIndia (2018) 9 SCC 501. Justice Khanwilkar then reportedly said, “Some arguments have been made in that also. All of them will overlap.” 

The bench however granted liberty to the Counsel to serve “advance copies to the Standing Counsel of the respondents”, namely – State of Uttar Pradesh, Commissioner of Police (Gautam Buddh Nagar), Station House Officer (Gautam Buddha Nagar), District Magistrate (Gautam Buddh Nagar), Director General of Police (UP) and Commissioner of Police (Delhi).”

The petition by Advocates Shahrukh Alam, Warisha Farasat, Rashmi Singh, Shourya Dasgupta, Tamanna Pankaj and Harsh Vardhan Kediya has been filed through Advocate on Record Talha Abdul Rahman, and states, “Despite several representations to the concerned police authorities as well as the National Human Rights Commission, no concrete action has been taken by the concerned officers on the complaint of the Petitioner in relation to the incident on 04.07.2021.” It goes on to say that on the contrary, police sought to prevent Sherwani “from pressing his complaint by exerting unwarranted pressure on him and members of his family.” The petition has sought the “redressal of his fundamental rights under Articles 14, 19, 21 and 25” as well action against the police personnel accused and also “compensation from the State of Uttar Pradesh.” The Petitioner also sought  “police protection from the Delhi police  (within whose jurisdiction he resides) by way of interim relief.” 

Sherwani stated that he has been “the victim of a dastardly hate crime in Gautam Buddh Nagar (Noida), Uttar Pradesh,” wherein he was “abused, tortured and systematically  stripped of his dignity by a group of individuals on 4 July, 2021.” The Writ Petition sought “constitutional interpretation of Articles 14 and 21” and that the Court declares a “duty of care” upon the police personnel and “redressal for reckless acts of the  police personnel in such cases.” 

Not a lone case, but one of several cases where similar hate crimes

The petition added that Sherwani’s was “not a lone case, but one of several cases where similar hate crimes,” and highlighted the police’s apathy towards the victim who had come to seek justice after surviving an alleged communal hate crime. According to the petition, after he regained consciousness, and was helped by a stranger, who put him in a rickshaw, he “went straight to the Gautam  Buddh Nagar, PS Sector 37. There were 3 (three) policemen present at the spot at the time. The Petitioner apprised them of the entire incident; however, they only asked for his name, father’s name and address, but did  not take down his complaint. They refused to ask for any details  or even hear the complaint. Neither did they offer any medical  help or get the MLC done. The Petitioner made his way to the  house of his niece in Okhla. His niece is a doctor and provided  him medical aid.”

It stated that after the news of the attack was reported in the media over the course of the day, “Late at night, on 05.07.2021 at around 1:30 a.m., a posse of policemen from U.P.  Police visited his niece’s house in Delhi. Instead of recording the Petitioner’s statement about the incident, they set about trying to convince the Petitioner and his family that they were blowing the  incident out of proportion. Without even taking down his complaint, they declared that this was not a hate crime, and said that it was a mere case of roadside robbery and that they would retrieve the Rs.1200 that was taken. Since then, the Petitioner’s nephew has received several telephone calls from Noida Police urging the family to not explore the hate crime angle in the attack as it needlessly ‘politicises’ matters. The Petitioner then wrote to the Commissioner of Police, Noida as well as the District Magistrate, Gautam Buddh Nagar on 6 July, 2021 apprising them of the hate crime perpetrated  against him on 4 July, 2021. However, no action was taken to the  knowledge of the Petitioner.”

He also wrote to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on July 9, 2021 and was asked to come and give his statement at the Police Station at Sector 37, Gautam Buddh  Nagar, UP (Noida). He went with a written complaint on July 31, 2021, however, the petition states that the “police personnel at the Police Station at Sector 37, Gautam Buddh Nagar, UP (Noida) refused to accept his written complaint. They took down his statement again suggesting that  they were ‘politicizing’ a non-issue. Repeated queries from the Petitioner whether an FIR had yet been registered on the basis of his complaint, and if so whether the entire narrative was included have remained unanswered”. It alleges that Sherwani does not know “the status of his complaint, and he is met with hostility each time he  enquires.”

The order may be read here:


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