Hapur: Another four days and it will be two months since a man was lynched and another seriously injured, allegedly by cow vigilantes.
While 45-year-old Qasim from Pilkhuwa succumbed to injuries, 65-year-old Samiuddin of Madapur village is still battling for life at a hospital in Ghaziabad.
The Supreme Court yesterday took note of a petition by Samiuddin that he and his family were living in a state of fear with the local police forcing them to lodge a complaint of road rage, rather than lynching over alleged cow slaughter.
The apex court directed a senior Uttar Pradesh police officer to probe the Hapur lynching, terming the survivor's allegations "serious".
Madapur residents dismissed the rumours that the victim was involved in anything to do with cow slaughter.
Where is the cow, the asked. "The uproar was over a cow, but there was no cow at the spot. There was no cow, or a knife or an axe. Samiuddin had a sickle to cut fodder on his one-and-a-half bigha piece of land," he said.
The police version, now challenged in the Supreme Court, was that a mob thrashed the two men after a motorcycle hit a youth. Madapur residents told PTI that Samiuddin had to attend a funeral on June 18, the day he and his companion were attacked by a mob.
Samiuddin's son had gone to another village to work as a construction labourer, and there was nobody to fetch fodder for the cattle the family kept, a resident, who did not want to be named, said.
Not sure when he would return from the funeral, Samiuddin decided to bring ?jowar' from his field, which is equidistant from Muslim-majority Madapur and Hindu-majority Bajheda Khurd village, before leaving for the funeral, he said.
That is where he was attacked by a mob, local people said. "He was hit with lumps of earth, bricks, a sickle, absolutely anything that the mob could lay hands on," said another man.
An elderly man from the village said he was in Ghaziabad when somebody told him over the phone about the incident. "The man said a mob from Bajheda had taken away two of our villagers. I asked him to call the village head. The village head was not there. So the villagers called the police emergency number," he said.
"The policemen arrived there but the mob did not stop and killed Qasim," he alleged.
The elderly man recalled that there has hardly ever been any incident of violence in his village, and certainly none of this magnitude.
"There have been minor scuffles over time. Once, 15 years ago, a stick fight broke out due to a dispute over water from the stream. Three or four people were injured in the incident," he said.
Samiuddin in his plea before the Supreme Court has sought setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to ensure an "impartial, competent and fair investigation" into "the barbaric incident of mob lynching on June 18." The petition said Samiuddin and Qasim, were assaulted by a mob of the majority community from the neighbouring village, "in the name of cow vigilantism". PTI