Police Threatens to Kill Muzaffarnagar Riots’ Witness Ikram, Alleges Family

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Social activists meeting Ikram’s family at their home in Muzaffarnagar.

Waquar Hasan | Caravan Daily

MUZAFFARNAGAR — Social Activists and family members of Ikram has alleged that the local police has threatened to eliminate him, as he is one of the witnesses of the Muzaffarnagar riots. This is being done in order to mount pressure and discourage him from giving his account of the murder that he had witnessed during the 2013 riots.

According to Ikram’s daughter Salma, a team of police arrived at their residence in Budhana’s Safirpur Patti on 12 June, asking about her father. On being asked the reason for inquiry regarding Ikram, the police said that he is being summoned by the CO of Budhana, Vijay Prakash. Ikram, who was upstairs at that time, was dragged by his collar by the police outside.

Salma said that when they asked and opposed the police’s behavior, her sisters and mother were brutally thrashed by the cops. They also went to the extent of opening fire at that time, which caused the gathering of local people, who in turn opposed the police’s action. Following the protest by local people, the police did not arrest Ikram, but took two other men with them, but released them later.

Ikram had migrated from his native village in Muhammedpur, Ajay Singh to Safirpur Patti after their home was set ablaze by the rioters in what was one of the worst communal riots in the country. He was a witness to the burning down of his home as well as to the murder of Raees which happened during the riots.

“Please help us as we need security. The administration has threatened us, and if the administration itself is doing this, where will we go? How will we be alive?” rued Salma, while talking to the Caravan Daily.

Following this incident, a group of UP-based social activists, Rajiv Yadav, Allahabad high court lawyer Santosh Singh, Bankelal Yadav, Rizwan Saifi, and Nadeem Khan visited Ikram’s house. In their press statement, they alleged that the police had hatched a conspiracy in order to encounter Ikram.

General Secretary of Rihai Manch Rajiv Yadav said that Ikram and his father are under constant pressure. This is happening in many cases where the witnesses are pressurized to withdraw from the case. Yadav said that in a case registered under his name, the son of the victim was pressurized to file an affidavit against him. The accused, however, forced the victim’s son to support them by offering around Rs. 4 lakh rupees of bribe money.

The communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar and its adjoining areas in August and September 2013 had claimed more than 60 lives while over 40,000 people were displaced. — File photo

In the case of Raees’s murder, Yadav alleged that the witnesses were offered Rs. 6 lakh to change their witness account, but they refused to take the money. He also added that the government has been trying to withdraw cases in Muzaffarnagar riots but they have failed.

Talking to Caravan Daily about the incident, Budhana CO Vijay Prakash conceded that the police has manhandled the family. But he denied the team went to Ikram’s house to pressurize him to change his witness account.

“Raja alias Riyazuddin is a wanted criminal under the gangster act. The police got a tip-off about him that he along with other criminals are at Ikram’s house, due to which the police went there and one thing led to the other”, he explained, with regard to why the police had resorted to thrashing.

“One of the personnel’s hands was bitten by someone there. Then, the gangster escaped from there” he further added. Following the incident, an FIR, he says, was also filed against Ikram for assaulting the police personnel.

However, Yadav retorts that if the police went there to search criminal, why were they asking about Ikram and thrashing the family and local people.

“They should have asked about Raja the criminal, not Ikram, but were asking about Ikram even they did not have any judicial warrant”, says Yadav.

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