The families of those killed during anti-CAA protest in Meerut on December 19 have alleged that the police shot at the protesters in which at least six persons were killed and as many got wounded.
According to Meerut police, four to five people had died in the protest. However, the investigation conducted by National Herald revealed that at least six persons were killed in the firing and the other four to five were injured in the “unprovoked” firing.
NH met relatives and families of those who were killed in the violence. It was noticed that most of the deceased was hit above the waist. If the victims were actually shot at by the police then it is a clear violation of the standard operating procedure according to which the police cannot fire at a person above the waist even in the worst-case scenario.
The Uttar Pradesh police Director General O.P. Singh has consistently maintained that his men did not open fire at the protesters anywhere in the state. However, videos have emerged showing police officers firing at the protesters in Rampur and elsewhere.
The last rites of those who died in Meerut firing were done in the wee hours as per police instructions, while the body of one of the victims, who died in a Delhi hospital, was not allowed to be brought to Meerut for fear of flare-up.
C.K. Zuber, a Muslim League youth wing activist, accused the Meerut police of resorting to using disproportionate force against the protesters with the objective of instilling fear in the Muslim community.
Most of the deceased did menial jobs for their survival and lived in and around Lisadi Gate area.
Details of those who were allegedly killed by the police along with the testimony of their relatives are given below:
Age: 44 years
Father’s name: Munshi
Our investigation revealed that Zaheer, who lived in Jali Wali Gali and worked as daily wager, died due to bullet wound on his head. He died on the spot, according to his family, on December 19 after policemen fired at him from close range.
Zaheer’s daughter Shahana spoke to us and alleged that UP police killed his father in cold blood. Zaheer’s friend Shamim tried to save his life, but in vain.
According to his family, Zaheer’s post-mortem was performed at a government hospital, the report has not been handed over to them yet by the police.
Age: 22 years
A resident of Kanchwali bridge gali no 10, Asif worked as a rikshaw puller in Delhi. He used to return to Meerut for the Friday namaz. He was at home when protest broke out in the city. As per his family, Asif did not take part in the protest. He went to offer namaz but did not return. What came instead of him is the news of his death, said his mother Nasima.
According to Nasima, police fired a bullet at his chest due to which he died on the spot.
Interestingly, referring to Asif, Meerut police has claimed that some miscreants came from Delhi to Meerut to disturb law and order.
According to his family members, post-mortem was performed but the report was not handed over to his family.
Age: 21 years
Alim, who lived a gali next to Asif, was shot on the chest by the police, claimed his family. Alim worked as a daily wage worker at a power loom and was allegedly killed when he went outside to offer namaz. His post-mortem report has also not been handed over to his family.
Age: 30 years
A resident of Gulzar-e-Ibrahim locality in Meerut, Mohsin died due to a bullet wound on his head. He was killed by the police in a targeted manner, claimed his brother Imran.
He was shot at when he went outside to arrange grass for his buffalos, said Imran.
5. Asif Khan
Age: 35 years
A father of three, Asif Khan was shot in the back. He lived by doing menial jobs. Asif, according to his wife Imrana, was killed by the police on the day protests against CAA gripped the city. However, according to Imrana, Asif did not take part in the protest.
What police says:
When contacted by National Herald Meerut SSP Ajay Sahni denied allegations. Blaming Popular Front of India (PFI) - an Islamist organisation to instigate people to resort to violence, Sahni emphasised, "Police have arrested some IPF activists after December 19 violence. We have many such videos in which protesters can be seen firing on police. It can not be said at this stage (as PM is awaited) whether they were shot by the police bullets or not."
“In most cases, circumstantial evidences suggest that protesters died due to gunshots fired by miscreants who were part of the crowd,” said ASP (Meerut City) Akhilesh Narayan Singh while speaking to NH. He also added that police had recovered empty shells of bullets from the spot.