Sajid Abbasi, a 28-year-old daily wage worker, died on Sunday, July 2, allegedly as a result of police brutality. The victim, who was from the village of Rataul in Western Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat, was apprehended by local police on suspicion of gambling, and died by succumbing to his injuries just thirty minutes after being let go. According to Maktoob media, Sajid Abbasi’s death on Sunday evening in Rataul, following a brief incarceration and allegations of custodial mistreatment by the local police, has sparked unrest in the area.
The Indian Express reports that Sajid Abbasi was apprehended by local police in an orchard and escorted to a checkpoint near the Khekra police station on suspicion of gambling. After some time, he was let go by the police, but half an hour later, while he was being driven to the hospital, he passed away. It is crucial to note that Sajid Abbasi is survived by three children and his wife, who is currently expecting another child. Abbasi has three brothers, all of whom also work as labourers.
Jounrlaist Meer Faisal also tweeted on the incident, “A 26-year-old Muslim youth named Sajid Abbasi allegedly died in police custody in Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh. Kin alleged he was tortured by cops and eventually succumbed to his injuries. Sajid was picked up from the mango orchard today at 11:00 a.m. by the Rataul police on the charge of gambling.”
The tweet can be read here:
A 26-year-old Muslim youth named Sajid Abbasi allegedly died in police custody in Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh. Kin alleged he was tortured by cops and eventually succumbed to his injuries. Sajid was picked up from the mango orchard today at 11:00 a.m. by the Rataul police on the… pic.twitter.com/ZXPccI6TND
— Meer Faisal (@meerfaisal01) July 2, 2023
The family of the deceased alleged that the young Muslim man was severely beaten up by the police and was almost unconscious when he was released, as per the information provided by Maktoob. Sajid’s father, Babu Abbasi, alleged that police officers severely abused his son at the police checkpoint and that he was only released when his condition deteriorated. Even the villagers had seen three police constables beating him mercilessly, the distraught father further said.
Shahabuddin, Abbasi’s elder brother, told Maktoob media that his brother was picked up by police after being mistaken for being a gambler. The mango fields near their home are infamous for gambling.
“Police were chasing some gamblers and they picked my brother who was returning home. He tried pleading with them that he was not a gambler. But the four policemen started thrashing him. He was arrested and taken to the chowki, where they beat him up even more. He was unconscious when my father reached the chowki to inquire about the issue,” Shahabuddin said, as reported by Maktoob media.
After Sajid’s death, furious villagers blocked the road and demanded that the police be held accountable. By keeping the body at the Rataul bus stop, relatives and locals held a protest.
“We didn’t try to create a scene. We just took the body and sat on the road so that the authorities might give some attention to our loss, to this injustice that has ruined our family,” Shahabuddin stated, as reported by Maktoob media.
Upon being asked if anyone from the police authority or administration has reached out to the family, to which Shahabuddin said, that no one contacted them. The family of the deceased further provided that they have decided to register an FIR as soon as the funeral gets executed.
Statement by the police:
As stated by Arpit Vijayvargiya, Superintendent of Police, Baghpat, the family of the deceased and the villagers have been pacified with the assurance of strict action against the culprits.
“He was detained on suspicion of gambling but was later released as police did not have any evidence against him,” said the SP, as reported by Maktoob media.
While the police authorities claimed that no FIR was lodged in the case so far as the family had not given any complaint, Baghpat ASP, Manish Kumar, stated that a probe was already initiated into the incident and the cause of death would be clear only after the autopsy report. It has been reported by Maktoob media that a postmortem had been conducted by the police before the body was released for the funeral.
“Action would be taken against those responsible on the basis of the available facts,” said the police officer.
Meanwhile, a cop has been shunted to police lines in connection with the death, reported Maktoob media.