Four days after Uttar Pradesh BJP MLA Shalabh Mani Tripathi shared a video on Twitter showing cops mercilessly thrashing a group of men with the caption “return gift for rioters”, the police in Saharanpur, where the incident reportedly took place, say they have no information about the video. No one has filed a complaint and there is no investigation, they said.
In the video, around nine men beg and try to block blows raining incessantly on them from two policemen armed with sticks in what appears to be a police station, but in vain.
The video went viral two days after the Uttar Pradesh police cracked down on protesters and detained several of them for disturbing peace and harmony as clashes were reported at several places where people had gathered to protest now suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s objectionable and communal remarks against Prophet Muhammad and Islam.
BJP MLA Shalabh Mani Tripathi called it a “return gift for rioters”.
Speaking to NDTV, Sharanpur’s Superintendent of Police, City, Rajesh Kumar said they have no knowledge of the video. “We don’t know where this is from. If we receive any complaint, we will see,” he said.
However, our investigation reveals a different story. Family members of at least five of the men being thrashed in the video said it is indeed from Saharanpur and the men have sustained severe injuries.
One of the young men in the video, Mohammed Ali, lives in Pir Gali of Saharanpur. His mother Asma was in tears when she saw the video of her son pleading with the police to stop hitting him because his hand may be broken.
“His hands are swollen and he was pleading to be let out. I haven’t even been able to eat for three days now,” she said.
In the same video, another man seen standing in the corner wearing a white kurta is Mohammed Saif, also from Saharanpur.
When we reached his house, his sister Zeba said that Saif had been beaten up so badly by the local police that he could not stand on his feet.
“My brother’s hands are swollen. They have hit him a lot and didn’t even take him to the doctor,” she said.
The man standing next to Mohammed Saif in the video is Mohammed Safaz. His brother Mohammed Tauheed, in tears, said the police beat him up brutally and even busted his kneecap.
“I met my brother in the jail, his leg was bleeding,” he said.
Two other men from Saharanpur, Rahat Ali and Imran, have also been identified.
Four days after these men were beaten up, there is still no investigation in Saharanpur, with the police claiming that they were not even aware of the video and where the incident took place. The families in question seem to be too scared to confront the police or file a written complaint.
With eight police custodial deaths and 443 judicial custodial deaths in 2020-21, Uttar Pradesh accounts for the highest number of custodial deaths in the country.