himachal lynching

Himachal lynching: Family say boy beaten to death was not smuggling cattle

His only crime, they said, was that he decided to hitch a ride in the same truck to save the money needed to buy a ticket back home. Noman was the only earning member in the family. He has a seven-year-old brother and three sisters.

The family of Mohammad Noman Akhtar (21), who was lynched in Himachal Pradesh over charges of smuggling cattle, has said he was not a member of the group which was allegedly bringing the bovine animals from Punjab’s Malerkotla area.

His only crime, they said, was that he decided to hitch a ride in the same truck to save the money needed to buy a ticket back home.

Noman, a native of Raipur village in UP’s Saharanpur district, used to work in Malerkotla.

My son used to do labour work in Malerkotla. Since he wanted to come back to Raipur, he accompanied four fellow villagers who were bringing some oxen and cows to the village on Friday.When the Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal men tried to stop the truck, the driver speeded up and took a turn towards Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh.However, the attackers somehow apprehended them in Sarahan-Pachhad area, pulled them out and beat them up mercilessly.Noman tried to run away in the forest, but some of the attackers chased him and thrashed badly.While four villagers who were injured survived, Noman died in Sarahan-Pachhad police station, Noman’s father Saeed Akhtar said over phone from Sirmaur.

He claimed that while Noman was badly injured, the police took all the five to police station instead of hospital.

He could have survived had the police shown a bit of sensitivity and taken him to hospital for first aid.In fact, instead of trying to protect them or take them for first aid, the police arrested them on charges of cattle smuggling.They took Noman to a hospital only when his condition worsened,” he alleged.

Saeed also claimed that the four injured villagers — Mohammad Missu, Mohammad Gulfam, Mohammad Gulzar and Mohammad Salman didn’t know that transportation of bovines was a crime.

May be they changed the route when the Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal members followed them because there was a way from Sirmaur to Saharanpur. The place where my son was killed in Himachal Pradesh is 120 km from my village, he added.

But Yogesh Rolta, Deputy Superintendent of Police of Pachhad police area, said  that they had tied 10 oxen and five cows in the truck.

The cattle were tied in the truck in a brutal manner. Since inter-state transportation of cattle is a crime, the four accused are in police custody. We are completing legal formalities and they would be sent jail after they are released from hospital,

he said.

The DSP, however, refused to identify the members of the organisation behind the attack.

I don’t want to mention the name of any organisation, but we have identified some of the people who killed Noman and may arrest them soon, he said.

He also claimed that the driver had stopped the truck near Lawasa Chowki and threw the cows out of the truck.

All of them were hiding in a nearby forest area, but the attackers somehow chased them,

he said.

Rao Quaisar, a Samajwadi Party (SP) leader from Saharanpur, who took Noman’s father to Sarahan-Pachhad on Saturday, said:

It appears that the attackers wanted to burn them alive. The clothes of the four injured persons were drenched in petrol when we met them in hospital.he added.

He used to work in a stone-crusher workshop and didn’t know what was right and what was wrong. I am still unable to understand how some people can beat him to death, Noman’s sister Khushnuma said.

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