December 1, 2021
By Special Correspondent
New Delhi: The CPI(M) on Tuesday reiterated demand of impartial probe into the alleged Loni ( Ghaziabad) ‘encounter’ in which seven young Muslim men (including a minor) were shot in almost the same spot in the leg and arrested for alleged cow smuggling on November 11. The CPI (M) also condemned and rejected the ‘utterly false and malicious accusations’ being made by BJP MLA Nand Kishor Gurjar against Polit bureau member Brinda Karat who led a CPI(M) delegation and visited the homes of the victims.
Nand Kishore made wild allegations against Karat and tried to pressure police to file an FIR against her. He said Karat is “encouraging cow slaughter” and “creating communal disharmony” etc.
In a statement, the Polit Bureau said the BJP MLA made these allegations after a CPI (M) delegation led by Brinda Karat visited the homes of the victims of the recent police atrocity in Loni, where the police inflicted identical injuries on seven young men, all Muslims in a so-called encounter.
“However, instead of filing cases against the policemen involved, the seven victims have been locked up,” it said.
It also said that the MLA who led vigilante groups in support of the police action on highly communal grounds has now tried to threaten and intimidate those who stand by the victims.
After the alleged encounter came to the notice of Ghaziabad SSP Pawan Kumar, he ordered departmental enquiry against former Loni Border SHO Rajendra Tyagi, who had led the operation, after the minor’s family claimed that they had presented his Aadhaar card as age proof to police after the arrest but it had been ignored. The SHO was transferred but radical Hindutva groups as well as some local BJP leaders and MLA came out in support of the SHO Tyagi who is being investigated by the Ghaziabad police for an ‘encounter’ he had had with seven Muslim men on November 11. The ‘encounter’ that reportedly took place at 6.10 am on November 11 near a scrap godown that was raided in Baheta Hajipur of Loni — and has raised questions given the similar nature of the injuries.
A probe conducted by the Loni circle officer (CO) Rajneesh Kumar Upadhyay has revealed that one of them was a minor and was sent to jail instead of a juvenile centre.
According to Upadhyay’s report, the boy is 16 years old but the FIR filed under Tyagi’s watch mentioned his age as 18. The former SHO and his team were also negligent, the report said, as they did not confirm the boy’s age.
On November 12, when Tyagi learned that he had been transferred, he not only wrote a note in the police general diary blaming his transfer on this ‘encounter’ and stating that it had lowered his morale, but made the page public, whereupon it went viral on social media. This resulted in the Ghaziabad police opening an investigation into the ‘encounter’ and also suspending Tyagi for “violating the Official Secrets Act”, according to a report by the Indian Express.
In turn, the action taken by Pawan Kumar, Ghaziabad’s senior superintendent of police (SSP) to set up an investigation into the ‘encounter’ and suspend Tyagi has irked radical Hindutva elements. They also targeted CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat who visited the victims’ families.
The CPI (M) said it reiterates the demand for an impartial probe into the incident and demands action against all those acting to thwart justice.