Bengal cleric says no to identifying son’s killers

Rashid, with folded hands and teas rolling down his face, had become the face of peace during the communal discord that broke out during Ram Navami.
Imdadullah Rashid
Imdadullah Rashid

KOLKATA: Four years ago, when West Bengal’s coal town Asansol was burning in communal hatred, a cleric of a local mosque had come out in the streets with folded hands and tearful eyes, urging both communities to stop the violence that had claimed his 16-year-old son. Now, Imdadullah Rashid has refused to go to court and identify two suspects arrested on the charges of his son’s murder, saying that he had not seen the face of the killers.

Though police claimed to have gathered all corroborative evidence against the two accused, Rashid decided to stick to his path of honesty saying, “I always stand for truth. When I didn’t see the face of my son’s killers, how can I identify the two arrested by police. If they are really the killers of my son, they will meet their fate.”

Rashid, with folded hands and teas rolling down his face, had become the face of peace during the communal discord that broke out during Ram Navami. “Don’t do anything that makes your children the victims of violence,” he had said. His appeal had helped the local administration to bring the situation under control.

“I am 71 years old and have been in this profession for the past 48 years. I have never seen that a father refused to depose as witness against the suspected killers of his son,’’ said Swaraj Chatttopadhyay, a lawyer of Asansol court.

Rashid said he was against putting the two accused behind the bars only to take revenge of his son’s death, when he was not sure who were the real culprits. “Families of the two accused came to meet me. I told them I would not tell police what I didn’t see. If they did not do any wrong, they will get released as part of the natural course,” he said.

The two accused, Pintu Yadav and Binay Tiwari, were allowed to go scot free by the court after Rashid refused to identify them. The police shortlisted 10 witnesses who identified Rashid’s son at the hospital and many of them deposed their statement during the course of the trial.

‘Did not see their face. How can I?’

Imdadullah Rashid lost hios 16-year-old son in communal riots in Asansol in 2018. After police arrested two persons accused of killing his son, Rashid refused to appear in court and identify them. He argued that he had not seen their face. The two accused were eventually released

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