Ahmed, a cancer patient, is among those booked.
The Firozabad police registered FIRs against eight people under the Arms Act following the December 20 protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, resulting in seven deaths. FIRs against five mention they were rounded up in an “injured” condition, while six FIRs claim the accused had “confessed” to have fired from illegal weapons. Relatives of the eight accused fear the FIRs could be a way of holding them responsible for the casualties.
Police are still investigating the cause of the seven deaths. Postmortems in case of six failed to recover bullets, as reported by The Indian Express earlier.
Thirteen people are in judicial custody for the Firozabad anti-CAA violence, including the eight under the Arms Act. All 13 are facing charges under Section 307 of the IPC, which is attempt to murder, along with crimes like dacoity and damaging public and private property, rioting and criminal intimidation.
Five of the eight Arms Act accused are daily wagers, one is a college student, one a mosque priest, while the eighth is a shopowner suffering from cancer. The Indian Express visited each of their families and went through the FIRs against them.
As per police, five of the accused — Mateen, Shoel, Aqib, Imran (actual name Nadeem) and Qasim (the FIRs have only their first names) — were arrested from the Naini Glass roundabout in the town, falling under Rasulpur Police Station. The FIRs under the Arms Act against all are exact copies of each other, mentioning “...(accused told police that) during the incident Hashim, Furqan, Shahjad, Golu, Bhaiye were also with us. They ran away from the spot. Some people are injured from their firing. We can’t identify those who are injured among crowd. We fired but we don’t know who were hit by our bullets. We are sorry for that... Some people were injured by firing of protesters and those were taken away by some people from the crowd.”
The complaints add that the five arrested are “seriously injured”, adding, “... they told that they were injured because of stone pelting, firing, running away and falling down”.
The other three FIRs under the Arms Act were registered at Firozabad South Police Station. The FIR against Ali Shan says he “fired on police with the intention of killing” and was arrested from near the Urvashi roundabout. The FIRs against cancer patient Ahmed, 49, and BSc student Faraz are identical too, each saying the accused was caught with 315 bore “tamancha (countrymade firearm)” and four accomplices carrying iron rods. They have also been booked for looting a police post and destroying property.
Ali Shan’s father Hazi Aslam says, “My son had gone to invite a relative for my daughter’s nikah but police caught him.” Incidentally, the FIR gets both Shan and Aslam’s names wrong, calling them Alyan and Aqram respectively. The advocate representing Shan, Mohammed Nagheen, said they had requested police to correct it.
Former Firozabad MLA Asim Bhai, who is helping the families, says, “From the FIR I fear police may hold these poor people guilty for the killing of the protesters.”
Ahmed has been receiving treatment for throat cancer at Bhagwan Mahavir Hospital in Jaipur for five years. While the FIR against him makes no mention of an injury, an X-ray conducted on December 23 (two days after his arrest) mentions “tebia & fibula fracture of Rt Leg” and “fracture of left hand” and “bone of 1st metacarpal fracture”.
Brother Md Afghani says, “I met him in jail. He told me police had beaten him and his fractures were a result of that.”
On January 2, Ahmed was shifted to Agra’s S N Medical College, where he was operated upon on January 19. A medical report says he has fractures in the right leg, ulna and a finger in the left hand.
Mateen’s father Saleem says, “He had gone to get medicines for me. Police say he was with a countrymade pistol, but it is all a lie. Mateen always kept away from disputes and has no criminal record.”
Says Aqib’s father Nayeem, “I met him in jail and he had injuries on both hands and legs and a bandage on his head. He told me that police beat him, put a pistol in his hand and clicked a picture.”
Akhlaq, the father of Faraz, says, “I have videos that show police entered my shop with some local goons, broke CCTV cameras and set fire to the goods (he sells wood). They then caught Faraz from here.”
Incidentally, police post in-charge Rajiv Chitranshi, who booked Faraz and Ahmed, was recently attached to Police Lines as punishment for serving notices under the CrPC against a person dead for six years and against an ailing 90-plus man.
Additional Superintendent of Police Rajesh Kumar, the head of the Special Investigation Team probing cases related to the anti-CAA protests, said, “Nothing new has come out so far. We will investigate all angles, use the video footage we have.”
Of the 13 in judicial custody for the December 20 violence, bail applications of seven have been rejected while pleas of the remaining six are to be heard on Wednesday. Those denied bail have said they would approach the Allahabad High Court.