Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Police atrocity on communal lines in Sahaspur (Muradabad): Is rule of law in jeopardy?


For the police atrocity in Muradabad's Sahaspur village (population 8000 Hindus, 7000 Muslims), roughly 27 kilometers away on from Muradabad on the Muradabad-Agra-Delhi road under Billari police area on February 16, 2011 during the Barawafat procession the following lines correctly explain the communal mindset of local administration, threat perception among minorities, loss of life and valuables and question of livelihood.

Ghar jala Jiska Usko saza, julm kee intehan ho gayee (punishment to one whose house was set ablaze, an example of attrocity)

Phool Gulchiya le gaya, bagban ko saza ho gayee (the garden had to pay the price for flowers that were plucked by someone else)

Name of Sahaspur had once been asked in the famous tele-show Kaun Banega Karorpati? for the harmony among people here. On the one had Muslims actively participate in the Hindu festivals such as Holi and Dipawali on the other hand it is a part of district Muradabad where prime minister's 15 point programme for welfare of Minorities is going on. During last year's Barawafat Hindus had themselves advised to take out the traditional procession from a different route since the road on the original route was damaged. But this year the houses of Muslim weavers are missing the usual ceremonies of Holi that they used to celebrate as weavers have left homes out of fear.

The houses that used to celebrate Holi are silent these days and raise a question over the police action that took place on February 16. Even after months of the incident the silence in the houses of minority families reveals the fear factor in them and cruelty of the administration. 


According to the eye witness:

None of the victims talk about the incident at public place. During individual talks Mohd Wasim told, "There had been no fight between the Hindus and Muslims ever before. During last Barawafat Hindus themselves suggested to take the procession from a different route since the road on the traditional was damaged. This time when the procession moved ahead gram pradhan Kishan Singh Jatav stopped it midway along with few other youths with him. The SDM was moving along with the procession for security. The SDM first tried to convince the Hindus to allow the procession move ahead but suddenly after a phone call on his cell phone he asked to take procession from a different route from the back side of the road. Talks were going on between Muslims and the local officials but then suddenly stone pelting started from the house of jatavas. Police immediately resorted to lathicharge and in retaliation few Muslim youths too pelted stones. In the melee a 12-year-old child Shahibe son of Abdul Haq got injured and later died at a hospital. Sensing the situation might worsen rapid action force and provincial armed constabulary were called. Cops fired tear gas bombs that landed inside houses. Policemen and jatavas both got engaged in beating up men, women and children in Muslim houses. While jatavas also took away whatever they could from the house cops were busy beating mercilessly."

Mohd Hafij still shivers to remember the incident. "I rushed inside house after stones came on road. Cops left women and children after beating them up but arrested men and youths. I tries to escape the arrest by rolling myself with several sheets of bedsheets and scampered beneath the bed like bundle. Cops came inside my house, held my wife by her hairs and asked her about me. When she repiled that I was out they left. As the cops left a tear gas bomb come in the courtyard. I rushed to throw it our but it pained in the eyes." Mohd hafij still uses medicine to treat his eyes.

Mohd saleem had his marriage fixed after a couple of days when the incident took place and he got hurt in hand and leg. He was left only when documents related to marriage were produced before the district magistrate. About the incident he says, "I was trying to resolve the issue by talks when cops took me to task and used canes upon me. I rushed to a nearby house and climbed up to the roof. Cops saw me and they too came inside the house to climb up. Out of fear I jumped off and got beaten up and arrested. In jail I felt as if life has come to and end. There seemed no way out. I felt like dropping the idea of marriage but forced by elders I did marry as fixed. Even during the marriage ceremony people asked me about the incident and I was feeling pity on myself."

Death of child during the incident has set fear psychosis deep among the women. They fear their own security too. Mohd Mushtaki says the procession had kids from each house and after stone pelting many could rush to nearby houses or ran till Bilari market, which is one kilometer from the site of incident. Cops were firing rubber bullets and tear gas and we could not move out to locate other family members who could have been trapped in the firing and tear gas. We were horrified and were trying to get information. We tried to make calls from our cellphones but after initial information we could not gather much information as the balance amount in the cell phones got finished.

Cops arrested 27 people from the spot of incident and from inside the houses under section – 147, 148, 149, 307, 332,353. Copy of Fir attached.


Details of arrested people:







Taufiq Alam


Abdul Jawar

Lal Masjid, Saharpur, police Station-Bilari, Muradabad


Israr Hussain


Abdul Jawar



Mohd Hanif


Mh Yameen






Imli, Sahaspur, Muradabad


Mh Hayat


Mh Yameen

Lal Masjid, Sahaspur, Muradabad




Mh Mallik



Mh Taufik


A Jawar



Ikram Hussain


A Jawar



Mh Naseem


Mh Farookh



Mushaheed Akhatar (heart patient)


Shahid Hussain





Sayeed Ahmed

Imli Muhallah, Sahaspur, Police station Bilari Muradabad




Mh Israr



Nanhu (guest)


Rustam Ali

Chakkar ki Milak, Civil Lines police station, Muradabad


Dr Shakeel



Nai Basti, Sahaspur, Police station Bilari, Muradabad
























Mh Ehsaan

Lal Masjid, Sahapur, Police station Bilari Muradabad


Mh hasim



Bari Masjid, Sahaspur, Bilari police station, Muradabad


Gulam Mohammad


Mh Yakoob



Noor Mohammad


Mh Yakoob



Khaleel Ahmed (guest)


A Gafoor

Rehmat Nagar, Police station Katghar, Muradabad


Jakir Hussain


Shaukat Hussain

Bari Masjid, Sahaspur, Police station Bilari, Muradabad





Lal Masjid, Sahaspur, police station Bilari, Muradabad


Dr Mehmood Hussain


Sadiq Ahmed

Nurutala, police station Kundarki, Muradabad





Ibrahimpur, police station Bilari, Muradabad


# The representatives of PVCHR visited the Sahaspur village and found the following:

·         The local administration had prior knowledge but there was no roadmap prepared for the procession

·         Administration could not control the situation even on the second day of the incident

·         Only Muslims were targeted through serious criminal charges under the FIR

·         Doors and looms of Muslim weavers were found broken

·         Factory of Muslim weaver was set ablaze

·         Some of the young Muslim weavers sustained serious injuries. Plaster of a few of them is yet to be removed

·         None of the public representative, MP, MLA visited the spot till now

·         The child who died in the incident was buried within 20-min in the presence of DIG, DM

·         The family was not allowed to keep the body even for ten minutes

·         No other victim of the incident than family of the dead child (Sahibe Ali) were given compensation

·         With the force deployed weavers are under terror and have not come out of the house for past one month

·         The tense atmosphere has restrained buyers to come to Sahaspur and purchase goods from the weavers here

·         Many families are on the verge of starvation

·         People are afraid they do not talk at public places

·         Twenty people came out on bail during the visit of PVCHR team

·         According to sources FIR has been lodged against 3500 to 4000 unidentified people and people fear their names might not be put in the police complaint

·         The administration has transferred one of the police officials and  sent to lines the in  charge of the police out post and Station House Officer

·         When our team visited the village a police officer and a constable were roaming there with sheets of paper. Such visits have added fear among villagers

·         Many children were not sent to school after the incident hence they could not take the annual exam

·         None of the anganwadi workers, health staff or safai workers are coming to the Muslim localities in the village

·         No facilities were provided under the public distribution system for food or MNREGS for a month

·         The key plotters of the incident were not booked for the incident

·         Some hooligans were specifically called from the nearby village

·         People had to jump from second floor to escape police beating

·         Muslims are poor and to fight their cases donation has been collected publicly

·         Some of the Hindus have provided finance and legal aid


·         State administrations action were one-sided and inhuman

·         The officials responsible were not punishes thus people are afraid

·         Local officials made no effort to solve the issue

·         Cops unlawfully acted upon women and children to beat them up

·         Innocent youths were charged for making violence and charging upon cops

·         Mohd Akhtar, a heart patient was picked up from home and books by the cops

·         Police arrested all men from one family as a result there were no males to look after the family

·         Police had a preconceived notion that it will be Muslims who will do violence

·         Cops did no patrol in Hindu localities

·         Police attitude is communal

·         There was no calculation of the economic loss suffered by Muslims

·         No probe was set up against the culprits

·         During the arrests the supreme court orders given in context of DK Basu vs State of west Bengal case

·         Even the guests (nanhu and Khalil Ahmed) were arrested

·         To escape cops many jumped off from the terrace and sustained injuries

·         People have lost hope due to one sided action by the cops

·         People are economically weak and unable to fight legal cases

·         Muslims source of earning is likely to get over and they have loans to repay

·         The opposition to suppression by Gram Pradhan kalian Singh Jatav (a retired cop) and wajid of Deoband was the cause of the incident

·         Cops, Kalyan singh and wajid played the key role in the incident

·         The reaction by weavers was due to the communal mindset of cops and their restiveness




·         The entire episode needs a impartial probe though minority commission, retired judge of high court and national human rights commission

·         Serious charges upon the victims should be repealed

·         Financial assistance should be provided to victims and their families

·         All bank recovery from the victims should be banned

·         Action against defaulters should be ensured soon

·         Action should also be taken against DM, SDM and station house officer of the police station to build up confidence among minorities

·         Weavers should be given job

·         Rehabilitated should be done under the prime minister's 15 point programme

·         The Muradabad administration should seek an apology from the families of victims

·         Committees should be formed at state, district and block levels including human rights activists, people from different communities, cops to restore peace and brotherhood

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