Investigative Report: Truth of Kasganj – Sham police probe: Protects Hindus, Frames Muslims
On January 26, 2018, communal violence broke out in Kasganj town of Uttar Pradesh during Republic Day celebrations. The police claimed that the violence began after a group of Muslims allegedly prevented a motorcycle rally of some Hindus from passing through their neighbourhood.
A Hindu man named Chandan Gupta was shot dead in the violence. Holding the Muslims responsible the police arrested 28 Muslims and booked them for the violence.
This independent investigation exposes the police attempt to frame the Muslims, against whom there is no evidence, and protect the Hindus, against whom there is substantial evidence.
In truth, it were the Hindus who caused the violence at a place known as Abdul Hameed Chowk where the Muslims were preparing for a ﬂag-hoisting ceremony to mark the Republic Day.
The police eﬀected this biased fraud from the beginning by registering two FIRs instead of one. The police should have registered only one FIR because this was a single incident of violence.
While the 1st FIR they registered focused on the violence alone, the 2nd FIR focused on the death of Chandan Gupta. The 2nd FIR conveniently names only Muslims as the accused even though by the accounts of the police themselves the Hindus too were shooting from ﬁrearms.
Both FIRs are, in fact, full of inaccuracies and contradictions.
To begin with, although the violence occurred before noon, both FIRs were registered at delays of 12-14 hours. This despite the fact that the violence allegedly occurred barely 200 metres from the police station and a number of policemen claim to have witnessed that violence.
Neither FIR mentions the violence at Abdul Hameed Chowk, which happened before Chandan was shot. The 1st FIR claims that violence occurred elsewhere, but does not mention Chandan being shot. The 2nd FIR mentions Chandan being shot but not the preceding violence.
The 1st FIRs names only Muslims as accused even though it acknowledges Hindus too indulged in the violence. The 2nd FIR mentions no Hindus at all, claiming Muslims attacked Hindus.
The police have not explained why they did not ﬁle an FIR when a wounded Chandan was brought by his Hindu co-marchers to the police station within minutes of being shot that morning.
In fact, the police arranged for Chandan to be taken to the hospital where he was declared dead. By the afternoon, the hospital had sent a memo to the police station informing them of his death. Incredibly, Chandan’s autopsy was concluded without an FIR being registered.
The police began arresting the Muslims from the very next day, January 27, arresting 19 of them within two weeks. But no Hindus were arrested for two months. In fact, the police made no eﬀort to even inquire into the identity the Hindus who were members of the motorcycle rally.
The 1st FIR’s investigating oﬃcer claimed the motorcycle rally organiser, Anukalp Chauhan, absconded on January 26. But the next day he led the pall-bearers at Chandan’s funeral. And the 2nd FIR’s investigating oﬃcer met Chauhan at his home on February 2 to record his statement.
Chauhan surrendered in court two-and-a-half months after the incident. The Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) gave him bail the next morning. Chauhan’s father was a clerk in the court of the District Judge, who is the highest-ranking judge and the CJM’s supervising oﬃcer.
While the police made Chauhan an accused in the case for the violence, they have made him a witness in the case for Chandan’s death. This is clearly a mockery of the judicial process.
The statements of various police oﬃcers, the Hindus from the motorcycle rally and several “independent” witnesses cited in the charge-sheets of the two FIRs contradict each other.
Some witnesses claimed that the Muslims attacked the Hindus at a place known as Bilram Gate crossing. Yet others said the Muslims attacked the Hindus before the latter reached Bilram Gate crossing. The 2nd FIR claimed the Hindus were attacked after they left Bilram Gate Crossing.
Some policemen said when they reached Bilram Gate crossing they found only the Hindus. Others said they found both Hindus and Muslims there. At least two independent witnesses said the Muslims had already run away from Bilram Gate crossing before the police arrived there.
The 1st FIR claimed the police were informed of the quarrel between Hindus and Muslims at 9.30 a.m. Several policemen also later made the same claim. But CCTV footage from Abdul Hameed Chowk shows that the ﬁrst altercation between the two groups occurred about 25 minutes later.
In some statements, the Hindus from the motorcycle rally claimed that after the Muslims attacked them at Bilram Gate crossing they ran away to the nearby Tehsil Road where Chandan was shot.
In other statements, the Hindus make no mention of Bilram Gate crossing. Instead they claim they were chanting slogans when they reached Tehsil Road when the Muslims attacked them.
Even the accounts of what happened at Tehsil Road are mutually contradictory.
Some Hindus say the Muslims snatched the tricolour from their hands and ordered them to say “Pakistan Zindabad”, and when Chandan refused, they shot him. Others say that the Muslims ﬁrst shot Chandan and then asked the Hindus of the motorcycle rally to chant “Pakistan Zindabad”.
More implausible is the claim that the Muslim who attacked the Hindus on Tehsil Road were the same who attacked them at Bilram Gate crossing from where the Hindus had run to Tehsil Road.
At least three accused Muslims have alibis of their presence elsewhere on January 26. One was in Hathras city as part of a touring religious group. Another was in Aligarh and a third in Lucknow.
CCTV footage from Aligarh showing the accused there has been handed to the police. Yet the police have refused to take that evidence into account.
In light of these many contradictions it is obvious that the police investigation of the Kasganj violence of January 26 is an abject example of anti-Muslim bias. The People’s Collective releasing this report, therefore, demands that the Uttar Pradesh government immediately:
• Terminate the current tainted prosecution of the two charge-sheets;
• Move the Allahabad High Court seeking a fresh police investigation directly reporting to and monitored by the hon’ble court;
• Constitute a high-level oﬃcial inquiry into the administrative and police failure to prevent the January 26 violence and its escalation once the police reached the spot;
• Constitute a high-level oﬃcial inquiry into the sabotage of the investigations and establish responsibility for framing innocent Muslims;
• Withdraw the fraudulent criminal charges against the Muslims and release them; and
• Arrest the Hindus from the motorcycle rally and investigate their role in the violence