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Bulandshahr violence: “We are being targeted because we are Muslims’ says Safru…

Tears rolled down the eyes of Sarfuddin as he hugged his children – two sons and a daughter – after spending 16 days in jail on fake charges of cow slaughter in Bulandshahr.

For Sarfuddin, a post-graduate in political science, the 16-day nightmare is over but questions and agony remain.

As Sarfuddin returned to his village Nayabaans after his release from jail on Friday, he burst into tears on seeing the villagers coming to meet him.

Interestingly, Nayabaans is also the native village of Bajrang Dal district co-ordinator Yogesh Raj, who had lodged an FIR against Sarfuddin and three others accusing them of cow slaughter.

Yogesh is prime accused in Bulandshahr violence which led to violence in Bulandshahr resulting in the killing of two people, police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and a local Sumit Kumar. Yogesh is on the run.

“I don`t know why the Allah punished me for none of my fault. Who will return 16 precious days of my life and sufferings of my family and children,” said Sarfuddin, who runs a small cloth shop in Syana town of Bulandshahr.

“We are being targeted because we are Muslims. The administration has failed to nab the real troublemakers even 18 days after the violence,” he said.

Squarely blaming Yogesh Raj for hatching a conspiracy to send him to jail on false charges, Sarfuddin said: “He was against me as I was the president of village`s Waqf Madni Masjid. I was trying to seek permission for mounting loudspeaker on the mosque and to carry out some construction work. Yogesh was against it and pressurised the officials not to entertain our requests.”

The special investigation team (SIT) looking into the Bulandshahr violence gave a clean chit to Sarfuddin and three others, identified as Sajid, Asif and Banne. They were released from jail late on Thursday evening.

According to Sarfuddin, Yogesh included his name in the FIR along with that of Sudaif Chaudhary, Iliyas, Sajid, Anas, Sharafat and Parvez. He alleged that the police sent him, along with Sajid, to jail without verifying facts.

“I thank the SIT and the media who highlighted the fact that we were falsely implicating in the case, which eventually ensured justice,” he said.

Sarfuddin said he would reopen his shop and send his children to school again.

His brother Mohd Hussain said the children were reluctant of going to school as they were unable to stand the remarks being made by fellow students.

“I had gone to participate in Tablighi Ijtema in Bulandshahr on November 30. I was assigned the duty of taking care of the parking lot. I stayed there till the religious programme ended on December 3,” Sarfuddin said.

“My brother Mohd Hussain and other villagers joined me there on December 1 and in the evening of December 3. We were there when we came to know about the violence and killings of inspector Subodh Singh and Sumit,” he said.

Sarfuddin said as the situation was volatile they decided to stay away from the village and went to a relative’s home. “It was there that my brother received a call from the police who informed him that I was wanted in cow slaughter case,” he said.

Sarfuddin said Hussain tried to explain that he was not present in the area when the incident took place but the police insisted that he be handed over to them.

“After discussing the matter, the villagers decided that I should be handed over to the Syana police in their presence,” he said.

The villagers said that another named accused Sajid and his family had shifted to Faridabad about 12 years ago. Sajid was also attending Tablighi Ijtema after which he returned to Faridabad.

Villagers said they called Sajid from Faridabad and handed him over to the police on December 5.

Another accused, Sharafat, was released after three days of detention when the police found no evidence against him.

Police also picked up one Asif from Aurangabad locality and Banne of Kheliya village. Notably, their names were not in the FIR.

However, the SIT found all of them innocent and recommended their release.

Asif’s brother Aas Mohammad said, “He (Asif) lives in Mumbai with his two children and wife. He is into the sale and purchase of watches. He had come here to meet us. The police barged into our house on December 4 and took him with them.”

“We tried to convince the police but they threatened us that they would book us too,” Mohammad alleged.

Asif has decided to leave for Mumbai on Saturday and said he would not visit the place again.

“I have spent my precious 16 days in jail despite being innocent. I don’t want to come here again,” said Asif.

Another accused Banne, who also returned to the village, refused to talk about the trauma that he suffered in jail.

“We have returned to our families only because of media which highlighted the issue and compelled the SIT to carry out fair investigation. We still believe that there are many honest policemen,” said Sarfuddin and Asif.

First Published: Dec 22, 2018 08:26 IST

Source: HindustanTimes