RAMPUR: The family of a 22-year-old man, who died during violence here amid protests against the amended citizenship law, on Sunday alleged that he was shot by the police and remained unattended at the district hospital for two hours.
The district administration, however, refuted the allegations, saying the police did not resort to firing and the gunshot was fired by someone from among the rioters.
They also said that the hospital staff, unequipped to deal with the case, had referred the injured patient to a better facility.
Faiz Ahmed died of a bullet injury here on Saturday during the violence in which several locals and policemen were injured, and six vehicles, including a police motorcycle, were torched amid a bandh called in the city to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), according to officials.
The deceased's brother Faizan Ahmed said a group, including his family members and some locals, were on their way to the Eidgah via Haathikhana roundabout when they got caught in the clash at some distance from the Kotwali.
"Heavy police deployment was in the city since morning. The policemen saw us going to the Eidgah and it was all ok, nobody had any problems. Then suddenly some unidentified people, who were not part of our group, threw stones at the police personnel. Police came back heavily on all of us," Faizan told PTI.
He said the police baton-charged the crowd in which a Maulana got caught and Faiz tried to intervene.
"He (Faiz) held the lathi and a commotion of sorts ensued after which a policeman fell down. At this point, around 11.45 am, one policeman came running from the Kotwali side and opened fire at Faiz, his bullet hitting him on the neck," he alleged.
Faizan said a bleeding Faiz was rushed to a nearby private hospital, which referred him to the district hospital.
"Faiz was alive for two hours there but no doctor came out to treat him," his brother claimed.
The situation got tense inside the hospital as more of their relatives and acquaintances arrived there, prompting police to reach the healthcare facility.
Faizan claimed that some policemen then took Faiz away on a stretcher to an unknown place.
Later, the family got to know from a press reporter that Faiz was taken to a hospital in Moradabad where he died, Faizan said.
He also alleged assault on relatives by policemen inside the hospital.
District Magistrate, Rampur, Aunjaneya Singh outrightly trashed the allegations, saying the police never opened fire during the violence and had only resorted to lathi charge and tear gas shelling to control the mob.
"The police did not resort to firing. After stone pelting and torching of vehicles by the mob, the police appealed to them to disperse and eventually opened tear gas shells and resorted to lathi charge. The police later also used rubber bullets but at no point opened fire," he told PTI.
"We are analysing the footage to find out who opened fire and will book the culprit for murder," he said, adding, "I am one hundred per cent sure the fire was opened by someone in the crowd of protestors and not the police".
Describing the family's claim of laxity by doctors as "incorrect", Singh said those present at the hospital had told Faiz's relatives that they were "not eligible to handle the sensitive case" and suggested that he be taken to Moradabad for treatment.
The official said the policemen had responded to violence against them inside the hospital where the relatives had disturbed order.
He added that some "unidentified people" are also under the scanner because preliminary inquiry and CCTV footage has shown that these elements were coordinating with the other protestors and initiated the violence.
Faiz's body was handed over to his family in the evening after which it was buried, his brother Faizan said.
Uttar Pradesh and several parts of the country have been witnessing protests and demonstrations by a section of people opposed to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed creation of a pan-India National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act provides for grant of citizenship to non-Muslim minorities -- Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jain, Buddhists and Parsis -- from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who were facing religious persecution in their countries and took refuge in India before December 31, 2014.
Critics are describing the law as being against the secular ethos of the country.