Saturday, December 2, 2023

Junaid: On 3rd anniversary, family still waits for justice while all accused are free on bail

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Thashreef KP

On June 22, 2017, Junaid Khan, a young boy aged 15 years was mobbed and killed by a Hindu mob for being what he was: a Muslim.

Junaid, who had boarded a Mathura-bound train from Delhi, was stabbed to death when he, along with his brothers and cousins, was returning home to Khandawali village after shopping for Eid in Delhi in June 2017.

“They abused us, called us Pakistanis — they snatched and threw Junaid’s skull cap on the floor. Thereafter, at Faridabad station, five more guys entered the train who were part of their gang and abused us. The men stabbed Junaid numerous times, Hashim (me) four times and Shakir, Junaid’s elder brother thrice. Minutes later, Junaid died, in my arms. My brother died as I held him. He took a long breath,” recalled Junaid’s brother Hashim.

Even after Junaid’s brutal death, all the six accused are free on bail today.

“Many sections which were charged with accused were dropped by the investigation agency. The sections include 302 IPC (Punishment for Murder). We had filed a write petition to the High Court of Punjab and Haryana and it was declined. Following that, we moved to the Supreme Court of India. It is pending as an SLP,” Adv Nibrash Ahmed told Maktoob over the phone.

“We will fight till the end — until our Junaid gets justice,” Junaid’s family said.

Waiting for justice

Earlier, in its order granting bail to one of the accused, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had said that the initial dispute between the victims and the accused was “only regarding the seat-sharing and abuses in the name of castes and nothing more”.

“There is neither any evidence of any preplanning to cause incident deliberately or intentionally or to create disharmony,” Justice A B Chaudhari made the observation in the order passed on March 28, 2018, a year after Junaid’s death.

Naresh Kumar, Rameshwar Dass Dass, a Health Inspector in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, and four others were booked in the case after the attack on Junaid (15), his brother, and two cousins on a Mathura-bound train on 22 June 2017. While the teenager was stabbed to death, the anti-Muslim slurs were also hurled at them.

On 19 March 2018, the Supreme Court sought the Centre’s response on a plea seeking a CBI probe into the case, and a bench of Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice MM Shantanagoudar also stayed the trial in the case till further orders.

According to the FIR, Junaid and his friends boarded the train at Okhla, and during an argument over seats, Dass and Naresh “abused the victims in the name of their religion”. Junaid and others made a phone call to their family members, following which Junaid’s brother and others boarded the coach at Ballabhgarh station and a fresh quarrel broke out, says the FIR.

“They (BJP) lynch us, blaming us for eating beef. They do not say anything when our children get murdered. They care more about cows than us. Their murderers are roaming free today. It is highly unjust. We nurture our children, educate them but these people snatch them from us, and kill them. This is not about being Hindu or Muslim, this is about having a clear conscience,” Saira Begum, Junaid Khan’s mother told Maktoob.

In memory of Junaid

Maktab Junediya (Junaid School) is a Hifz study center for girls (to memorize Quran) built in the memory of Junaid in his motherland Salaheri in Mewat. It was a small effort by his family to promote religious education among girls.

They were successful in completing the project after benevolent endowments​ of INR 100,0000 from CPI(M) and INR 100,000 from Kendra Sahitya Academy Award winner and Malayalam literaturate KP Ramanunni and constant support from Solidarity Youth Movement Kerala, Students Islamic Organization of India (SIO).

Maktab Junediya (Junaid School) is a Hifz study center for girls (to memorize Quran) built in the memory of Junaid in his motherland Salaheri in Mewat. Thashreef KP/Maktoob

Thashreef KP is a graduate in Public Administration and currently based in New Delhi.

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