December 05, 2021

Hold an Independent Inquiry into Loni Incident

A LETTER was written to the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh by Brinda Karat, Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M) and K M Tewari, Delhi state secretary of the Party on November 26, 2021. The letter demanded the chief minister to institute an independent inquiry into the Loni police encounter in Ghaziabad district.

The letter termed the Loni police action as utter lawlessness and asked for strict punishment to the SHO of the police station. “You are no doubt aware of this shocking police atrocity in which the police inflicted identical uniform injuries by firing below the knee on seven young men.  The SHO was transferred but not punished. It was only when he publicly objected to his transfer that he was suspended. He justified his action by spinning a most unlikely tale of cow slaughter. It is extremely unjust that without any independent inquiry, false cases have been foisted on the seven men and they have been locked up in jail,” the leaders stated.

A demand for prosecuting and arresting the SHO was raised in the letter. The leaders also targeted the local MLA, Nandkishore Gurjar who had made a series of highly objectionable statements with the intent of creating communal disharmony and enmity between communities. “He is a serial offender in this regard. We demand that cases be filed against him under the relevant provisions of the IPC.”

The leaders informed the chief minister that the victims of the police atrocity are all Muslims. This substantiates the apprehension of many citizens in the area, that they have been targeted because of their religious identity. They are all daily wage workers in the unorganised sector, taking whatever work is available. Many of them have been doing manual labour as loaders, some as street vendors, as construction workers and so on. They also all belong to the Rangrez caste and traditionally the profession has been as dyers. At present they were hired as workers to clean drums with chemicals and also to separate waste material.

A delegation of the CPI(M) had visited the victims and stated that families had informed them that their feet had been affected by the chemicals used to wash the drums. They have never been remotely connected with the cattle trade leave alone slaughtering cattle.

“It seems that they have been made a scapegoat in a more sinister plan to create communal tension and disharmony in the area as a default electoral strategy.”

Both Brinda Karat and K M Tewari said that the urgent requirement is the medical treatment for their gunshot injuries. One of them has also suffered a hairline fracture. The others also require proper treatment to avoid infections in the wounded area. The families are also very poor and do not have the capacity to hire lawyers. They do not have any copies of the FIRs or charges filed against their sons. Two of the families are headed by widows who are highly traumatised by the incidents. Since in most cases the victims were the main earning members, the families are in a financially desperate situation.

The leaders said, “We know it is unlikely that any redressal will be done, yet it is our duty to bring these facts to your notice with the request that you take action to bring justice to the victims. Pending the inquiry, which if impartial will no doubt find the police guilty and the victims innocent, the government should release the victims on bail without delay.”