Gym to Wheelchair: Jitendra’s Struggle in Yogi’s ‘Encounter Raj’

Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia
Abhay Sharma

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has recommended that the UP government pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation to paralysed gym trainer Jitendra Yadav’s family.

In a press release dated 30 October 2018, the NHRC stated that ‘a case of violation of human rights of the victim is made out’. The Quint had met with Jitendra and his family earlier and is re-publishing this story from its archives. The story first appeared on 16 October 2018.

For 26-year-old Jitendra Yadav from Noida’s Parthala Khanjarpur, life came to a standstill on the night of 3 February 2018.

An altercation with a sub-inspector and three other constables resulted in a bullet being fired that pierced through Jitendra’s neck, damaging his spinal cord.

Body-builder Paralysed After ‘Fake’ Encounter

Since the last eight months, Jitendra has been confined to his bed as he became a paraplegic after the incident in February. Unable to move his lower limbs, Jitendra misses going to his gym where he used to train young boys in bodybuilding.

Recalling the chain of events, Jitendra explained how he became a victim of an alleged fake encounter:

"“I was dropping my friends in Sector 122 (of Noida) when suddenly four policemen came from behind. They said, ‘aren’t you aware that Yogi ji has given orders that two or more boys can’t stand at a public place after 9 pm?’ When we protested, Sub-Inspector Vijay Darshan Sharma took out his pistol and shot me near my neck.”" - Jitendra Yadav, Former Gym Trainer

According to Jitendra’s narrative, a brawl between him, his friends and the policemen took an ugly turn when arguments led to fisticuffs with the sub-inspector taking out his pistol in a fit of rage.

"“Vijay Darshan Sharma himself had told me that ‘it has been long since I got promoted and it looks like that now I will get promotion only after shooting either of you’.”" - Jitendra Yadav, Former Gym Trainer

While the sub-inspector was arrested on charges of attempt to murder and robbery, two constables and a trainee sub-inspector were suspended.

But for Jitendra, who needs at least three people to hold him from behind before he can sit straight, the action by UP police is of little help.

The former gym trainer has been paralysed since last eight months after a sub-inspector with UP police opened fire at him.

‘Hardly Any Money for Treatment’

Daily routine of physiotherapy sessions along with regular medical check-ups is costing Jitendra Rs 1-1.5 lakh per month. Jitendra’s gym has been closed after the incident in February.

For someone who used to earn Rs 70,000-80,000 monthly, paralysis of lower limbs means loss of his only means of livelihood. This means that Jitendra’s father, who’s a farmer, now has to bear all the medical and household expenses.

Instead of a dumbbell set, it’s a pair of crutches that adorns Jitendra’s room these days. And it’s an elastic belt with rods attached that acts like a jacket from his waist downwards up to his feet – an external aid that helps Jitendra stand when supported from behind by his physiotherapist.

Former gym trainer Jitendra Yadav can stand only with somebody’s help as his lower limbs have been paralysed.

While we were talking to Jitendra, a plastic container underneath his bed, into which urine is emptied from the bag daily, tumbled with its smell suddenly filling the entire room. An embarrassed Jitendra screamed at his helper who rushed in with a mop and a bottle of liquid Dettol. For someone who would bask in the glory of six packs, his waste flowing out in the open was perhaps way too shameful.

Family Alleges Caste Discrimination

It is the silence and grim faces of family members that strikes you on entering Jitendra’s house in Parthala Khanjarpur village, an hour away from Delhi, in Noida.

In a room adjoining the courtyard, his father Nepal Singh lies in a cot with a glucose drip being administered through his right hand. Shock and exhaustion have taken a toll on Nepal Singh, who has no hopes from the Yogi Adityanath government.

"“The administration has done nothing to date.”" - Nepal Singh, Jitendra’s father

Talking about the recent killing of Apple executive Vivek Tiwari by a constable in Lucknow, Jitendra’s father says that the UP government has turned a blind eye towards them because they are Yadavs.

"“The government is discriminating against us as we are Yadavs while he (Vivek) had Tiwari as surname.”" - Nepal Singh, Jitendra’s father

Nepal Singh claims that all his attempts of reaching out to UP’s Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other Bharatiya Janata Party leaders were in vain as he was denied access every time.

According to the information provided by UP police earlier this year, more than 1,100 police encounters have been reported in the state between March 2017 and January 2018. Jitendra is another victim of the shooting spree by the UP police that doesn’t seem to think twice before aiming a gun at civilians these days.

Jitendra’s family has now resorted to social media for seeking financial help for his medical treatment.

Also Read: Staged or Real? The Many Questions Around the Aligarh Encounter

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