A 45-year-old cab driver died in Greater Noida on Monday after he was allegedly attacked by three passengers, PTI reported. The victim’s son, who recorded his father’s last call on Sunday night which was made minutes before his death, alleged that he was forced to say “Jai Shri Ram”.
Police identified the driver as Aftab Alam, a resident of Trilokpuri area in Delhi, and denied any communal angle to the killing. “A police patrolling vehicle found the Delhi-registered taxi parked along the Badalpur-Dadri bypass road,” Deputy Commissioner of Police, Central Noida, Harish Chander said. “On checking, a person was found on the seat next to the driver’s seat in a severely injured condition. The police immediately rushed him to a hospital where he died during treatment.”
Alam had picked up a passenger from Gurgaon and dropped him in Bulandshahr, the police said. “While returning, some other passengers boarded his cab for Delhi without a booking,” the officer added. “En route to Delhi, they had a fight and the driver was attacked, leading to his death.”
Alam’s 20-year-old son Mohammad Sabir said he received a first call from his father around 7 pm, when he asked him to recharge his FASTag, according to The Wire. After that, during the second call, at 8.39 minutes, a man is heard saying: “Jai Shri Ram bol, bol Jai Shri Ram [say Jai Shri Ram]”. Eleven minutes after this conversation, at 19.41 minute mark, one of the accused says that Alam has stopped breathing. “He had probably sensed that some men he had come across were not the right sort of people, so he called me and possibly put the mobile phone in his pocket,” Sabir told The Wire.
The call was recorded for the next 40 minutes and Sabir sought help from Mayur Vihar Phase I police station. “His tongue area was badly bruised, ears were bleeding, there was a big cut on his face,” Sabir said. “This is clearly a case of mob lynching...We are Muslims, but we have a right to live.”
Rajiv Kumar, assistant commissioner of police 2 Zone 2 Noida, said Alam was found with head injuries, while the accused had escaped, The Indian Express reported. “A clip is going viral in which the accused can be heard asking someone to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’,” he added. “They are not asking the driver; in fact they were talking to another person while they had stopped to buy something. There is no communal angle to this case and it appears the accused had a history.”
A first information report has been filed against unidentified men under Indian Penal Code Sections 394 (voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery) 302 (punishment for murder) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender).