Thursday, June 20, 2024

FIR on hate crime against Muslim man registered after 1.5 years: SC expresses ‘distress’ at UP Police laxity

Photo: Meer Faisal/Maktoob

The Supreme Court on Monday expressed dissatisfaction at the laxity shown by the Uttar Pradesh Police in registering an FIR in a hate crime against elderly Muslim man.

In July 2021, a 62-year old Muslim man Kazim Ahmed complained that he was pulled inside a car by a group of four Hindu men, was beaten up, pulled by his beard, assaulted and anti-Muslim slurs were hurled against him. The incident occurred in Noida.

The apex court noted with “distress” that the FIR was registered only on January 15, 2023, almost one and a half year after the date of the incident- July 4, 2021, reports Live Law.

The top court noted that the FIR was registered only after the last date of hearing (January 13), when the court had directed the Uttar Pradesh government- which had been denying that it was a hate crime- to produce the case diary.

A bench comprising Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagrarathna heard the matter on Monday.

Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for Kazim, submitted that immediately after the incident, the elderly Muslim man went to the nearest police station in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. However, his complaint was not registered by the police. Kazim later had to move the Supreme Court and yet the State of UP never accepted that there was a hate crime aspect involved in the entire incident and neither was an FIR registered in the case, the legal website reported.

Kazim said, “First you denied that this incident ever happened and did not register an FIR, then after a year in July 2022, the State of UP in its first counter said this is a false case. Then this court ordered for production of the case diary. Then another counter affidavit was filed…It was only after the order passed by this court for production of the case diary that the FIR was registered after one and a half years on 15-01-2023…even that FIR is a diluted FIR since most of the offences are bailable barring one. 153A which is a stringent section is not added, section 295A would be attracted. Other provisions such as 362, 365, 501, 505(1)(c) these are all attracted in the FIR.”

He went on to say: “They are yet to probe the incident but continue to deny any hate crime angle involved. What investigation can we expect at all from them? Let me assume for a moment against myself that there was no hate crime involved, but why was an FIR not lodged on the morning of the 4th(July 4, 2021) when the petitioner visited the police station? There was at least the commission of a crime.”

He said: “Firstly, I want a declaration that the state of Uttar Pradesh must be held guilty of committing a constitutional tort in the sense that it has failed to protect a citizen and implement the rule of law. The minimum of rule of law is registering of an FIR. There is complete violation of breach of care in this case. Secondly, in this case your lordships should set an example and there should be some kind of reparation by the state of UP as this court may deem fit which is justiciable to some extent. Finally, all stringent sections have been eschewed from the FIR for reasons not too difficult to see. FIR says hate crime but in additional affidavit they say no hate crime…there is no will to prosecute…,in that case the arms of this court is broad enough to ensure that prosecution is done.”

Justice Joseph said: “If a person comes and says that I am wearing cap, I am Muslim, I have been accosted and beard is pulled treated in this way and still no complaint is registered.. then its a problem. The victim says that he was beaten and verbally abused. He says that his beard was pulled multiple times. Beard is a sign of religious belief and practise. That is a give-away that it is a hate crime. There is verbal abuse as well as the pulling of the beard shows something. Whatever this man has said, the police has not faithfully recorded what you say because they are under fear that you might be acting against the powers that be.”

Maktoob was the first media which covered the hate crime against Kazim.

“I was the first journalist who covered the story of Kazim Ahmed Sherwani in Maktoob,” said Maktoob journalist Meer Faisal.

“The hate crime occured on 4th july in a broad daylight, hardly few distance away from Noida’s 37 Police Chowki. I am glad that Kazim Ahmed, the erstwhile victim has came out as a crusader against the hate crime. He persued his case legally, stood his ground for bringing perpetrators to the justice,” Faisal said.


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