Hapur lynching: UP court finds 10 cow vigilantes guilty, sends them to life imprisonment

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While one of the victims, Samaydeen fortunately survived the murderous attack over false allegations of cow slaughter in 2018, the other Qasim succumbed to his injuries. The APCR had fought the case on behalf of the victims. 

India Tomorrow

NEW DELHI—Nearly six years after a group of Hindu men killed a Muslim goat seller, Qasim, in a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Hapur over false allegations of cow slaughter, a trial court in the district on March 12 found 10 people guilty of the heinous murder and sentenced them to life imprisonment.

The deceased, who was 45, was one of the most well-known victims of hate crimes related to cow slaughter in the state following the infamous Dadri incident of 2015, in which a Muslim man called Mohammad Akhlaque was thrashed to death over rumours that he had killed a cow.

On June 16, 2018, Qasim was brutally murdered close to the fields of Bajhera Khurd village, under the jurisdiction of the Pilkhuwa police station in Hapur. The incident occurred one year after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, which gave moral support to vigilantism and violent cow protectionism, took over.

Indeed, after being freed on bond, one of the principal accused of the Hapur lynching case had boasted about his involvement.

Family members of the victim argued that there was no truth to the claims of cow slaughter.

Lawyers involved in the case confirmed 10 accused were found guilty of the crime, which also resulted in serious injuries to a Muslim farmer named Samaydeen — a member of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. 

Lawyer Vrinda Grover, who fought the legal battle on behalf of the Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), said Additional District and Sessions Judge Shweta Dixit found all 10 accused guilty of murder, attempt to murder, rioting with a deadly weapon and inciting enmity between groups based on religion, among other charges.

According to Grover, the accused were convicted under the Indian Penal Code’s sections of 302, 307, 147, 148, 149 and 153a. They were given life sentences in prison. They were also fined Rs. 58,000 apiece.

Although the court took a long time to reach the conclusion, Samaydeen’s family said they are satisfied with the judgment.

“We are pleased with the court’s ruling. We finally got justice,” said his brother Yasin.

The crowd viciously attacked Qasim, and when Samaydeen attempted to step in, he too was beaten.

Samaydeen, a native of Madapur-Mustafabad village, was also the target of taunts from the roving crowd, who accused him of killing cows.

He was struck with lathis, kicks and punches and had to spend many days in the hospital to heal from various abrasions, a shattered head, fractures to both arms and legs, hurt ribs and ruptured ears.

Samaydeen made it through, but Qasim passed away because of the wounds caused to him. He left behind four children and his wife.

The event had also resulted in significant criticism of the state police, not only for the crime but also for the manner in which three officers could be seen in a viral photo dragging Qasim’s bloodied, very likely still-alive, body away shortly after the brutal assault.

Qasim was dragged on the ground “because of the non-availability of an ambulance at that moment”, according to the police, which also apologised for the actions of two constables and an inspector. The victim was subsequently taken to a hospital in an emergency van.

Samaydeen and Qasim’s family insisted that the crowd had unjustly accused them of cow slaughter, despite the media reporting that the two men had been beaten due to accusations of cow slaughter.

Additionally, the police faced a great deal of criticism for first writing off the murder as the product of a brawl between two groups over a motorcycle accident.

After Samaydeen filed a writ petition with the Supreme Court, the court mandated that a senior Inspector-General of the Indian Police Service (IPS) oversee the case’s investigation and that his statement be recorded.

The victim’s family was given police protection.

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