Testimony of Ramlal Patel
My name is Ramlal Patel and I am 30 years old. I am son of Panchamram Patel. I live in Purabpur village (Ahrak), which falls in jurisdiction of Badagaon Police Station in Varanasi district. We are 5 brothers and my youngest brother is Santosh Patel, who is 20 years old. He has been quite simple boy and has never done anything bad to sully his image.
On 13th December 2006, Santosh was called for partying by Manoj Yadav and Bablu Yadav at their residence. Santosh mentioned about this to all of us and left for it at 5.00 p.m. Before leaving, he told me that he was not interested for a night halt but his friends were forcing him that he stays in the night. At 8.30 p.m, on that, my elder brother, Ramnaresh Patel, who works at a post office In Kanpur, got a call on his Mobile 09451330615 informing that Santosh has met with an accident and he is admitted at Pragya Hospital, Harhuan. Even Mobin Khan, who lives in our neighbouring village, also gave this information at our home. Listening to Mobin Khan all of us got scared. After that I and my nephew, Ramchandra left for Pragya Hospital to know the whereabouts of Santosh. Then, reaching I came to know from a doctor that such accident case hasn't come to the hospital.
I called my elder brother, Ramnaresh and I tried that mobile number, from where I got the information, but it was switched off. We were groping in dark and were quite nervous. I and my nephew were standing at the marketplace and thinking what has been the matter. At that time, an Inspector asked us what we were doing in the night. Then, we narrated the entire incident to him, and then he called a constable with whom he was familiar. After that, the constable informed the Inspector over phone that at Harhuan Bazar, there was a burglary at a widow Kalawati's house. One among them the burglars was killed and his dead body is lying at the police station. Listening to this, instantly we rushed to the police station and saw his body at the police station. Seeing that, we started crying. Police told he was killed while committing burglary so come along with the panchayat pradhan and others tomorrow in the morning then only the body would be sent for post mortem.
Shocked and tears in our eyes we reached our home. Family members were crying and screaming. In the morning, I accompanied by panchayat pradhan and other villagers went to the police station. After reaching there, we came to know that brother's dead body was sent to BHU, on the previous night. Then, villagers burst into anger and staged protest blocking the road. In the meanwhile, the local MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) Ajay Rai came and assured that he would raise the police highhandedness in the assembly. At that time, it seemed that the MLA had come to extend his helping hand but it was just to hoodwink us to break the protest. I and my brother went to BHU, where we saw the SHO. Then, we entered to the cremation ground for consigning the body in the flames, I saw SHO moving out. When photos of my brother's dead body was taken, I saw there were bruises and injuries, as it seemed that he was tortured before his death.
After his cremation, when we reached the police station for filing a FIR against Manoj Yadav and Bablu Yadav. Then SHO Mahendra Pratap Yadav refused to file the FIR. After a while I came to know that SHO was closely related to Manoj and Bablu. Seeing the police attitude, we were passing through terrifying moments and ran for justice from pillar to post. Then, I came in touch with functionaries of People's Vigilance Committee for Human Rights (PVCHR). They generated confidence in me, which helped in filing a report against the police. Court took action against the police. Police adopted pressure tactics through our relatives in the village so that we withdraw from the case. They used to say, police is with no one, so please do not go against the police. At that time, we were also getting scared and used to think that police harasses and abuses innocent poor people so they do not have faith on them. I told my relatives in the village, the way the police tortured my brother that reverberates in my mind. I wish either I take up arms against the police or I should die. In this struggle if we win then it would be an example for the poor people so that they can rise to the occasion.
After that, I went to Ramsinghpur village to know all the facts. Villagers told on 13th December 2006 at 7.30 p.m. a police van came carrying brutally beaten half dead body and a bicycle. Police threw the body on the road. When villagers asked the police, they said that he has been killed while committing burglary. Then villagers responded that he was still alive and asked should we take him to hospital so that when he recovers, he would be able to disclose the names of other assailants. But police did not heed to the villagers.
While working in field or doing other work his face runs before our eyes. We feel exhausted. The burglary was committed by two sturdy men covering their face with gamchha (a thin cotton towel) but my brother was lanky and thin. After listening to this, I was quite scared about friends and police. Villagers living in Ramsinghpur refused to depose before the Court as eye witness to the incident and they told me, "If someone interrogates in the village, then we can narrate the entire incident."
My family is simple and has a social acceptance. The allegation of burglary has sullied the image of the family. Still the family has not been able to emerge out of that turbulence caused due to killing of my younger brother. Whenever the joint family meets, then the absence of Santosh disturbs us a lot. When I see someone similar in looks to my brother, then his face crossovers my mind and jolts my sensibilities. We all get disturbed, when we think about him. We used to put our physical labour in the field and my younger used his physical and mental talent, which increased our output. The year when the unfortunate incident took place, we were thinking of getting our younger brother married. We have decided that when we would be successful in getting justice, then we would put up the photo of my younger brother in the home. Now our prime objective is to bring fore the police brutalities and seek justice. It might prove to be an example and break the fear among the people about police terror and brutalities.
Our descendents would get lesson out of it. While narrating the testimony I feel quite relieved and relaxed. Whenever I think about my brother I cannot sleep. It makes me restless. In the search of justice, we knocked to many doors but there was no meaningful response. Even we were contesting it in the court also. Then my father filed a complaint with National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), New Delhi and on 10th February 2011, NHRC directed Chief Secretary, Government of Uttar Pradesh to release a compensation of Rs. 5,00, 000/- (Rupees Five Lakh). Still now the UP Government has not acted upon NHRC's directive of 17th March 2011. My father did not file his complaint to NHRC for compensation but was seeking justice. NHRC's directive makes it amply clear that my brother was killed by police on false encounter and erring policemen should be given exemplary punishment. Still now policemen are putting pressure on our family members. I am quite scared while venturing out. On the one hand I happy at NHRC's directive for compensation and fear and despondency grips my mind seeing the guilty policemen moving scot-free.
Please see the youtube to hear expression of Ram Lal Patel and his father Pancham Patel after receiving to compensation: