Kin say Muslim youth killed in ‘fake encounter’ with UP cops

Refuting the police narration, Matin's family is convinced their son is a victim of 'hate crime'

Family member of a 23-year-old man, who was reportedly killed in an ‘encounter’ with police in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, have alleged that he was murdered. They alleged that despite filing a complaint, no FIR was registered even as weeks have passed since his death.

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Martin alias Billa, a resident of Khatauli village in Muzaffarnagar district, who worked as a vegetable seller, died on January 16, and his body was handed over to the family the next day. The incident came to light on January 27. The family has disputed the police version that Martin was killed in an encounter, and alleged that he was ‘murdered’.

What happened?

On January 16, Matin left home to restock vegetables. After a few hours, his family received a call from him from an unknown number saying he had been shot by police and was undergoing treatment at Medical Hospital Meerut.

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When his family tried to contact him through the same number again, he was not reachable. They decided to go to the hospital where they saw him lying injured on a stretcher surrounded by police officials. However, they were not allowed to meet Martin.

Speaking to Maktoob Media, Matin’s maternal uncle Sonu, who had accompanied Matin’s father Abrar and younger brother Danish to the hospital, said they were not allowed to meet him.

“We were told they would let us meet Matin in an hour. They kept telling us this for the rest of the day. They did the same even on the next day until 7:00 pm when we learned that he was no more,” Sonu was quoted by Maktoob.

Matin’s body had bullet wound

On January 17, when Matin’s family was informed by a police constable that their son had passed away, the family tried to find from the hospital authorities the cause of Matin’s death. However, the information was not provided.

Sonu, however, claimed that a doctor told him that Matin’s body had a bullet injury on the left side of his stomach, which had damaged the intestines.

5 cops named in complaint

Angry and inconsolable, Matin’s father Abrar lodged a police complaint at the Mawana police station accusing the police of murdering his young son.

In his complaint, Abrar named five police officers, including sub-inspector Atul Kumar, three head constables Akasha Chaudhary, Deepak Kumar, Manjeet Singh, and another official Govind Singh.

As of January 19, no FIR had been lodged.

Police version

When asked why an FIR had still not been lodged, the Mawana police explained that Matin’s family were provided with the general diary report (GDR).

A GDR is defined as a record at the police station to maintain the number of complaints they receive. “Since Matin’s father Abrar had already filed a complaint on January 16, a separate case over the same incident cannot be registered,” Mawana police said.

According to the GDR, the complaint was registered under Section 307 (Attempt to murder), 279 (Rash driving), 427 (Mischief causing damage), and 411 (Dishonestly receiving stolen property) of the Indian Penal Code against four accused.

Matin involved in car theft

According to Mewana police, Matin was involved in a car theft along with three others named Abdul Samad, Osama, and Shoaib Ansari.

An FIR was lodged by one Karan Jain on January 7 who said that his Hyundai Alcazar car was stolen from outside his residence.

On January 16, based on a tip-off from a person named Mukhbir, the Mawana police reached the spot where, according to them Matin and his friends were sitting at the Meerut-Bijnor Highway. Upon seeing them, the men started shooting at the officers who then ‘retaliated in self defense’. While two escaped into a nearby sugar field, one surrendered and another (Matin) sustained injuries.

Police said seized weapons and car number plates from them. “A judicial inquiry has been initiated. In clashes like these, both sides get injured. It’s common in crossfires during encounters,” the Mawana police said.

Family alleges murder

Refuting the police narration, Matin’s family is convinced their son is a victim of hate crime. “He didn’t do anything except his work — selling vegetables and looking after his family. He didn’t even know how to drive a car, let alone steal one. Why would he stealing a car?” said Danish, Matin’s brother.

“On January 16, Matin was restocking the vegetables on his cart when he was picked up by the police,” Danish said.

“The police are making my brother a scapegoat to cover their incompetency. They are creating a fake case. The police killed him, and we want justice. Our entire family is bereaved,” Danish added.

Stating his son was innocent and never involved in any criminal or communal activities, Abrar said, “My son has been killed by the police in a fake encounter. He was leading a normal life and was not involved in any case. No details of his treatment or postmortem report have been provided. The medical staff handed over his body to us on January 18 afternoon.”

Matin is survived by his aged parents and two younger siblings.

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