Unnao Custodial Death: Family Demands Justice and Compensation as One Accused Cop is Arrested

Unnao Custodial Death: Family Demands Justice and Compensation as One Accused Cop is Arrested

May 23, 2021

Faisal Hussain

Faisal Husain suffered a head injury. Autopsy also found a severe injury behind his ear and at least 12 contusions on his body

Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Following protests by family and locals, the Unnao police have arrested a home guard in connection with the death of 17-year-old Faisal Husain, who died in police custody allegedly because of torture on Friday in Bangarmau Police Station limits in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh.

The home guard has already been dismissed from service while two constables remain suspended.

“Home guard Satya Prakash has been arrested, while constables Chaudhary and Seemavat remain suspended”, police constable Susheel Kumar who has been assigned to handle media queries told Clarion India. He added that the investigation was still ongoing.

NDTV reported that the suspended constables Vijay Chodhury and Simavat are on the run. “Efforts are being made to trace them. We have conducted raids at various places to trace them. Strict action will be taken against those found guilty,” the police said in a statement.

The police told Clarion India that Faisal suffered a head injury when he was allegedly beaten by the accused cops. “Faisal was brought to the hospital by the police while he was in a critical condition, he complained of severe stomach pain,” a doctor at the hospital told reporters.

According to a report in the Indian Express, the autopsy also found a severe injury behind Faisal’s ear and at least 12 contusions on his body.

Following the tragic death, a crowd of locals blocked a road — Lucknow intersection of Unnao-Hardoi Marg — in the area keeping the dead body on a stretcher while mourners surrounded it. The agitated family demanded strict action against the culprits, alleging a role of higher police officials.

“Top policemen are complicit in the murder of Faisal,” his cousin Salman said, adding lower officials follow the orders of their bosses

“We demand that all those who are responsible for my brother’s demise be dismissed and tried under 302 (Murder) of IPC (Indian Penal Code).”

On Saturday, as the family and locals held demonstrations on the road amidst heavy police presence in riot gear, the area was also swarmed by local leaders of political parties to show solidarity with the family.

Commenting on the incident, Shama Mohamed, National Spokesperson- of Indian National Congress, asked why have the accused cops only been suspended/dismissed? “They should be convicted and put behind bars for what they did. Such blatant abuse of power cannot be tolerated in a civilized society,” she said in a tweet.

Similarly, AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi said that the death of Faisal shows there is no respite from violence for Muslims even in a raging pandemic.

The incident has sparked angry reactions from Muslim activists on social media who are asking why there is little outrage against the “custodial killing of a Muslim youth” compared to other cases of police violence where the victims are non-Muslim.

“Why are you all not angry?” asked a Delhi-based lawyer Anas Tanweer. “How difficult is it for the police to arrest the killers? Why no demand for a CBI enquiry.”

Apart from demands for justice, the family has also sought compensation, both monetary and a government job for the next of kin. On Saturday, the family met the police officials where they were promised that their demands would be looked into.

“The Circle Inspector (CO) has assured us that one of Faisal’s brothers would get a job,” Mohammed Moin, another cousin of the victim, who is also a local social activist told Clarion India in a telephonic conversation.

Moin said that Faisal was basically a car mechanic but had started selling vegetables to help his family as he was unable to find work during Covid-19 lockdown.

Faisal was pushing his hand-cart outside his house near the Sabzi Mandi in Bangarmau town in Unnao on Friday when bike-borne cops charged on vendors, shopkeepers and passersby purportedly to enforce the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. As the policemen at the outpost arrived, Faisal and other shopkeepers tried to run away. According to Raju Khan, an eyewitness, “the police caught him and ruthlessly beat him and took him to the police station.”

The CCTV footage seen by Clarion India shows Faisal struggling to stand and walk as he is being dragged by the cops.

Apparently he was tortured in the police station. When his condition deteriorated, the policemen took him to hospital. “When we reached hospital, he was already lying lifeless on a stretcher,” Raju recalled, his voice cracking.

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