The Congress memorandum on Monday to the Governor of Uttar Pradesh Anandiben Patel is a chilling documentation of police atrocities in the State with alleged killings and violent assaults on Muslim young men and estimated 5,500 detentions and 1,100 arrests across the State into which the principal opposition party has demanded a judicial inquiry.

The 14-page memorandum submitted by the All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and President of the UP Congress Committee Ajay Kumar ‘Lallu’ records 23 deaths in Bijnor, Meerut, Firozabad, Muzaffarnagar, Sambhal, Varanasi, Lucknow, Rampur and Kanpur.

The UP police have denied that anyone was shot or fired at but the AICC document pieces together evidence gathered from families and eye witnesses to assert that the police were involved in the deaths and demands further investigation.

Police excesses

On December 20, at Nehtaur in Bijnor district, 22-year-old Anas and 21-year-old Suleiman were killed. Priyanka Gandhi, during a press conference in Lucknow where she released the memorandum to the media, said she had visited the families of both the deceased who have told her that the police have put pressure on them to not register any FIR.

“…22-yea-old Anas who ran a coffee machine to support his family was shot and killed by the police as he left his home to buy mil on December 20. The police put pressure on his family to bury him 20 kilometres away from his village causing his family immense pain. Family members were warned against filing an FIR and threatened with dire consequences if they did not comply. In this manner, a post-mortem was avoided,” said the Congress memo.

21-year-old Suleiman who was studying for his UPSC exams was also killed on December 20.

“He had gone to the local mosque to offer namaz and was returning home when he was picked up by the police. His corpse was then found with a bullet wound that entered through his chest and exited through his back. The clothes from his upper body had been removed,” the memo read.

It documented six deaths in Meerut district, also on December 20 and identified the victims as Saeed Ahmed, Saleem and Zaheer who were daily wage labourers. Mohammed Mohsin, a scrap collector; Mohammad Asif an e-rickshaw driver, and Aleem, who made a living making rotis on the roadside, were the other victims.

In Firozabad, the police firing took place on December 20 and Mohammed Haroon and Mohammad Shafiq passed away in a Delhi hospital on December 26. Four more people, identified as Ale Nabi, Rashid, Arman and Muqeem were documented by the AICC as having been killed in police firing in Firozabad on the same day.

In Muzaffarnagar, Nooru, aged 30, was shot while participating in the protest on December 20. At Sambhal, two persons have died in police firing on the same day.

“The city of Varanasi has witnessed a particularly tragic death. The police conducted a brutal lathi-charge on a peaceful protest. This resulted in a stampede in which an eight-year-old child was crushed to death on December 20. Another child, Mohammad Tanvir, has also been severely injured,” said the AICC memo.

‘Register FIRs’

In Lucknow, Mohammad Vakil was killed on December 19 allegedly due to police firing. In Rampur, 24-year-old Faiz Ahmed was killed on December 20. “His family reports that he was shot in the neck by the police. Witnesses report that he was in the market when the crowd swelled. He spotted an old man who had fainted and rushed to help him but was shot even as he picked up the old man. Furthermore, his treatment was intentionally delayed resulting in fatal consequences. It appears that an investigation for murder under Section 302 of the IPC is required to be initiated,” said the Congress memo. In Kanpur, three deaths were reported on December 20-21. Raees was a daily wage labourer shot in the stomach. Aftab and Saif died in similar circumstances.

“In Muzaffarnagar district, it was reported that local residents were targeted on the intervening night of December 20-21 with the intent to terrorise them… Among the victims was 22-year-old bride named Ruqaiya Parveen. She was beaten up mercilessly by the police and received stitches on her head. Her family has stated that her jewellery was also stolen,” said the AICC memo.

“FIRs must be immediately registered and an enquiry be ordered into the incidents of the night of December 20-21 to ascertain the facts and impart justice to the victims,” said the Congress memo.