The bullet found in the body of a 20-year-old civilian killed in last week’s anti-Citizenship Act protests in Uttar Pradesh was found to have been shot from the service pistol of a police constable, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday. The constable shot Mohammad Suleman in “self-defence” during protests in Bijnor district, senior officials claimed.
The police had so far claimed that they had not fired even a single bullet at protestors – until figures confirmed by some officials to The Indian Express showed that at least 14 people killed during clashes in parts of the state since December 19 had succumbed to “firearm injuries”. Suleman was one of them.
“One cartridge was retrieved from Suleman’s body,” Bijnor Superintendent of Police Sanjeev Tyagi told the newspaper. “The ballistic report confirms that this was shot from the service pistol of Mohit Kumar. Mohit Kumar also suffered a bullet injury. The bullet taken from Mohit Kumar’s stomach was found to be shot from a country-made weapon.”
Kumar is part of a special operation group of district police, and was deployed in Nehtaur area during protests on Friday. He is in critical condition at a private hospital in Bijnor.
According to an initial report by the police, a mob snatched a sub-inspector’s service pistol during the protest. Some policemen, including Kumar, then chased the group. Suleman opened fire with his country-made pistol when Kumar got close to him, Tyagi claimed. “In reply, Mohit also fired from his service pistol and the bullet hit Suleman’s stomach,” he added.
However, the police neither found any weapon on Suleman nor did they recover the sub-inspector’s service pistol. The investigation is still going on.
Suleman studied in Noida but was in Nehtaur because he had fever. His family claimed he was picked up by the police while he was returning from a mosque. His sisters told Scroll.in that he was a hard-working student who used to stay up all night to prepare for the Civil Services Exam.
The police took him into a lane and shot him, the family alleged. The family was not allowed to take his body as the police took it to Bijnor for autopsy. The family too reached Bijnor but was sent back, and was allegedly asked to return the next morning.
Tyagi said police will look into the matter legally if the family files a complaint.
Twenty-six people, including 20 policemen, were injured in the violence on Friday. Nationwide, 24 people have been killed since the anti-Citizenship Act protests erupted last week. The highest number of deaths has been reported from Uttar Pradesh.