LUCKNOW: Abdul Khaliq, 18, who suffered 45 per cent burns after he was allegedly doused with kerosene and set afire by unknown persons for refusing to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ in Uttar Pradesh’s Chandauli on Sunday, died in Varanasi Divisional Hospital on Tuesday.
The victim’s statement said he was waylaid by four men on bikes on Dudhari bridge in Saiyadraja area while on his way to attend nature’s call around 4.30 am. On his refusal to give in to their demand to chant “Jai Shri Ram”, he was set ablaze . His father Zulfikar said Khaliq came home with severe burns around 5 am.
Chandauli Superintendent of Police Santosh Kumar Singh, refuted the claim saying it was ‘fabricated as an afterthought’. The police, however, are yet to explain if the claims of the boy and family were wrong, why the boy would have set himself afire.
The SP said, newspaper hawker Dinesh Maurya had seen the victim alone at the time of the incident at a different place. “Till Sunday noon, the boy had maintained that he was set afire by unidentified men but his mother was prevailed upon by some anti-social elements to allege that he was forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan,” Singh said.
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) of the IPC on the basis of the written complaint of Khaliq’s family.
“While the boy claimed to have been accosted by goons near Dudhari bridge, Maurya claimed to have seen him near Kale Khan Baba Mazaar along NH-2. The boy constantly changed his statement. CCTV footage do not show him in certain places he mentioned,” Singh claimed. He said, “Initially the family named some Yadav but the victim named one Sunil.”
Police claimed the victim took off his slippers 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 Singh.
“I can say with conviction that the family story is fabricated and designed to create social discontent,” SP Singh added.