Wednesday, May 29, 2024

“Police shot in his eye,” says father of Muslim man killed in UP CAA violence

Photo: Meer Faisal/Maktoob

To get to Anas’s house, we walked through a busy alley near Bijnor’s Naya Bazar. It is a busy alley with small shops on both sides. While we were still trying to figure out Anas’s house, we noticed a small tailor shop next to a four-story house. 

We were standing outside the house when an elderly man of about 50 years of age approached us and asked what we were looking for. 

“We’re looking for Anas’s father, Arshad Hussain,” I explained. 

“I’m Anas’s father, Arshad,” said an old man in a white thawb. 

Arshad Hussain lost his son Anas in a police shooting during CAA violence in December 2019. It’s been over two years, and Anas’ family is still waiting for justice.

At least 20 Muslims were killed on 20th December 2019 across Uttar Pradesh for agitating against the anti-Muslim citizenship law. Most of them were allegedly killed by police, according to fact-finding reports.

The killing spree and the subsequent violence are one of the main election pointers for Muslims this time.

Hussain showed us around his house, which had two small rooms with exposed brick walls. He asked his daughter to get him the folder as we entered the room, he took out two photographs of Anas from the folder. 

“He was shot in his eye by the police,” Hussain said.

On December 20, 2019 – according to Anas’s family, Anas went out to buy milk – he was in the same lane not even 100 metres away from his house, when one of the policemen fired at him.

“The police ran away when I heard the crowd scream. I went and saw Anas was shot. All I could see was a pool of blood and my son lying in it. I along with my brothers took him to the hospital,” Hussain said – not showing much emotion. 

“We begged for our son’s body”

Anas used to work with his uncle. They would go to various events and supply coffee and do other odd jobs. 

“Anas and I didn’t talk much. I used to live in Saudi and I came back 3-4 years ago. I was not in favour of his love marriage,” Hussain told Maktoob. 

Anas had a love marriage.

He married Bushra and had a son, named Adeeb. Adeeb was just seven months old when Anas was shot. 

Like Suleiman – the second boy who was allegedly killed by the UP police in Nehtaur during the December CAA violence, Anas’s family was also not allowed to bury his body in Nehtaur.

“When my son died, the police took away his body for post-mortem, they didn’t want us to bury his body in Nehtaur, they asked us to take the body somewhere, they wanted us to bury him in a govt Kabristan, we had to beg them to allow us to bury the body in our ancestral village,” Hussain stated.

Anas was buried in Mithaan village with Islamic rituals. Hussain said that he is a proud father.

“I am not upset now – I am proud that my son attained martyrdom,” Hussain said without any expression. 

According to the police, he was killed when he was caught in the crossfire of a gun fired by the crowd at the officers, The Wire reported.

As per the police – the police were trying to contain the violence in the area.

However, Anas’s family say that the police’s claims are false. “My son had nothing to do with the protests, he just went out to buy milk,” Hussain added.

“Media heard me, but nothing happened”

Anas’s father appeared irritated with the media. He stated that despite the fact that many people from the news had arrived, nothing happened. 

“People from the media came to me earlier – but what happened, I didn’t get any justice, they asked about my son, and I told them, but will anything bring my son back?” He explained. 

He also stated that many politicians came to see us and promised us justice and money, but nothing came of it. 

“Priyanka Gandhi also came to see us; she said we would get justice; she is good,” Hussain added. 

But he had complaints from other leaders, claiming that they promised his family money but never delivered it.

“SP leader Dharmendra Yadav gave Rs. 5 lakh to Anas’s father-in-law and not to me; Yadav said the money belongs to Anas’s wife because she is very young, but Bushra (Anas’s wife) doesn’t live with us, we didn’t get anything, we didn’t get money, and we also lost our son,” Hussain told Maktoob.

He also stated that the money that was raised through crowd-fund, he didn’t get the full amount.

Blaming his distant family Hussain stated “even the money raised by people like you – was taken away from me, my distant relative used me for their gain,” he looked irritated.

“Have you seen the condition of my house? We don’t even have a proper latch on the doors, I am old, what am I supposed to do, with my son I lost everything,” Hussain told Maktoob.

Anas’s family had lived in Nehtaur for decades, and they claim there was never any animosity between Hindus and Muslims; it was a peaceful environment, and they never imagined they would lose their son in such a way. 

“I don’t like talking much these days, I keep it to myself, I work and pray,” Hussain admitted, his voice dejected. 


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