LUCKNOW: The 18-year-old Muslim boy, who was allegedly set on fire for not chanting "Jai Shri Ram" by some unidentified persons in Saiyadraja area of UP's Chandauli district on Sunday, succumbed to his injuries in Varansai Divisional Hospital on Tuesday. The boy, Abdul Khaliq, was admitted to hospital with 45% burns.
In a statement recorded in the hospital, the victim had claimed that he was waylaid by four men on bikes on Dudhari bridge while he was going to attend nature’s call on early Sunday morning. They asked him to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and when he refused they allegedly poured kerosene on him and set him afire.
Zulfikar, the victim’s father, said Kahliq came home with severe burns around 5am. However, the district police chief Santosh Kumar Singh contested the claim saying that discrepancies were found in statements of the boy and that of an eyewitness, a newspaper hawker Dinesh Maurya.
According to the SP, the eyewitness confirmed that there was no one around and the victim was alone at the time of incident. “Till noon it was a case of boy being set afire by unidentified men. But in the afternoon, the victim and his mother were allegedly convinced by some anti-social elements to draw ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan into it to get immediate attention,” said the officer.
Earlier an FIR was lodged against unidentified persons of Manrajpur village under Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means) of the IPC on the basis of the written complaint of Kaliq’s family members.
According to the Chandauli SP, while boy claimed to be accosted by goons near Dudhari bridge, eyewitness Maurya claimed that he had seen the victim near Kale Khan Baba Mazaar along NH-2.
“Also, the boy is constantly changing his statement. CCTV footage examined by police do not show him in certain places he mentioned,” said the officer. “The incident took place at some other spot where a hawker Dinesh Maurya saw everything,” said the SP.
“It seems to be an attempt by anti-social elements to spread communal hatred,” he said adding that initially the victim’s family took the name of some Yadav which was registered in the FIR but the victim named a person called Sunil,” said the SP .
He said the incident occurred at 4:30 in the morning . Narrating the series of events on the basis of eyewitness account, the SP said that the victim allegedly took off his sleepers and went inside a ‘mazaar’ where he immolated self and came out running.
“Maurya, who was going to Saiyadraja to collect newspapers, saw the boy running on the road,” said the SP. “I can say with conviction that it is a false claim made by the victim and his family as an afterthought. It is a fabricated case, far from reality and malicious,” said Chandauli SP.
He added that the police were in the process of identifying the mischievous elements by activating the beat teams. “Action will be taken against all those who have tried to sensationalise the incident based on falsehood to spread communal hatred,” said SP Santosh Kuamr Singh.