KASGANJ (UTTAR PRADESH): A sense of helplessness prevails in Street Number 3 of Baddu Nagar in Kasganj, Uttar Pradesh, where families of five of the six arrested in the Chandan Gupta killing reside. But there is a slight difference in the house of Rahat Qureshi. His wife, Surabhi Chauhan, does not belong to the community and says her husband, like the others, is paying the price for being a Muslim.
Rahat was arrested at Sikandrau in a joint operation by the Uttar Pradesh Police and the Special Operations Group (SOG) on February 2 in connection with Chandan Gupta’s killing in the Republic Day flare-up in Kasganj.
Rahat and Surabhi were on their way to Aligarh for a doctor’s appointment when the police picked him up.
“He is paying the price of being a Muslim. On the day (January 26), Rahat and I were in our house watching television. He was not even out there. The police are framing him. They are saying that he had weapons with him but he did not have any. He is innocent. He should be released immediately,” Surabhi said.
Rahat and Surabhi fell in love when they were in college and married a year ago against the wishes of her parents.
Violence erupted in Kasganj on Republic Day after a dispute between two communities over the route of the ‘Tiranga Yatra’.
In the clashes that followed, at least 27 properties were reported to be damaged, including four sites of worship, plus five buses and a car.
Surabhi says her parents have now accepted her marriage with Rahat and no longer have issues with it.
But she claims that authorities are refusing to help her because she married outside the community. “They told me they can’t help me because I married a Muslim,” she says, on the verge of tears.
With mixed emotions of helplessness and anger, she says with folded hands, “Please convey my message to Yogiji (Adityanath) that he is doing great work in the state. We are all with him. But please make sure that no innocent is put behind bars.”
Rahat’s 72-year-old father, Mohammad Zafar, can barely hold back his tears as he talks about his son. “Rahat works at a car workshop. The police claim they have recovered weapons from him. He has never even seen, let alone held, a gun in his life,” he said. Rahat’s mother, Shenaz, says, “We want our son back. He is innocent.”