Dhaba Owner Hacked To Death In UP. Police Blame Spat With Customers Over Rs 4, Son Says Killers Most Likely Cattle Slaughterers

Dhaba Owner Hacked To Death In UP. Police Blame Spat With Customers Over Rs 4, Son Says Killers Most Likely Cattle Slaughterers

by Swati Goel Sharma - Mar 24, 2022 05:49 PM +05:30 IST
Dhaba Owner Hacked To Death In UP. Police Blame Spat With Customers Over Rs 4, Son Says Killers Most Likely Cattle SlaughterersThe victim, Sewaram Gangwar
  • Contrary to the police version, Sewaram’s elder son Rajneesh told this correspondent that he suspected the three accused to be “cattle thieves and slaughterers who roam in the night”.

A dhaba owner was killed by slashing of his neck last week in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly district. The police have arrested three men for the brutal murder, saying they had a spat over tea bill with the dhaba owner earlier in the day.

However, the deceased’s son says the alleged killers were not their customers and are most likely cattle thieves “who roam in the night”.

Sewaram Gangwar was about 50 years old. He is survived by two sons, both in their twenties. His wife passed away this January due to an old illness. The elder son married a few months ago.

A picture of Sewaram Gangwar
A picture of Sewaram Gangwar

The family lives in Tiyuliya village that falls under the jurisdiction of Fatehgarh West police station. Sewaram used to run a dhaba named after his elder son, Rajneesh. The dhaba sells chicken meat and rotis to customers. Sewaram would often sleep at the dhaba itself, on a cot placed adjoining it in the open.

On the morning of 14 March, his younger son Rahul reached the dhaba to help out his father. He noticed blood on the ground. As he was carrying no mobile phone at that time, he rushed to his house to call his elder brother Rajneesh.

“Rahul came to me saying it looked like our father had either been attacked or had attacked someone,” says Rajneesh. When Rajneesh reached the spot, he removed the blanket lying on the cot and saw his father in a pool of blood.

“Even then, the thought that he might have been killed did not cross my mind. I thought maybe he was unconscious. I called up the police, who arrived at the spot soon. They declared him dead as his neck had been slit from behind.”

Rajneesh says the police took the body to a hospital, where the death was confirmed.

When the police asked the brothers if they suspected anyone, they said that when they left the dhaba the previous evening around 9 pm, there were three people who accompanied Sewaram. They were his friends Dewa and Rahul and a third man who they did not know.

The police filed a first information report (FIR) based on Rajneesh’s statement and named Dewa, Rahul and an unidentified man as suspects under IPC section 302 (murder). The statement says that the three entered into a spat with Sewaram the previous evening over food (FIR number 67 filed at Fatehgarh West police station on 14 March 2022).

The police detained the men for questioning, but issued a statement about the arrests made, only yesterday.

The original suspects were let off and, instead, the police have identified three other men as the culprits. They are namely Nikku alias Munawwar Khan, Mozim Khan and Munna alias Musarraf Khan, all residents of Dhantiya village in Fatehgarh West. Dhantiya is about 40 kilometres from Tiyuliya.

The police press note says that the three men were arrested around 7 pm on 23 March when they were in a pick-up van (number UP 35 T 4675) on their way to Dhantiya.

The note says that the men told the police that Sewaram had insulted Munawwar when the latter complained about being charged extra money for tea, and the three executed the murder to take revenge.

The police seized their vehicle as well as knives used for killing Sewaram, the note says.

When this correspondent called up investigating officer Rajesh Kumar from Fatehgarh West police station, he said the police had recovered three knives from the accused.

Contrary to the police version, Sewaram’s elder son Rajneesh told this correspondent that he suspected the three accused to be “cattle thieves and slaughterers who roam in the night”.

“These three men did not visit our dhaba for food the previous day (13 March). I was at the dhaba the entire day. I did not see them at all. And yes, we don’t sell tea. Even my father would go to some other shop for tea,” says Rajneesh.

“Our dhaba is located at the corner of a road. Those who slaughter cattle in the night for their meat, roam around in the area. My suspicion is that the men were probably seen by my father and asked to stop,” says Rajneesh.

He elaborates on his point, “If you look at them, they look impoverished and criminals. Had they come to our dhaba, I would have surely remembered this. The media reports that the spat for over Rs 4 are false. We sell a full plate of chicken curry and roti for Rs 120. My father never bickered about change from customers, let alone fighting and insulting anyone for four rupees.”

When asked, officer Rajesh Kumar dismissed Rajneesh’s version saying the three men have no record of cattle slaughter.

“On 13 March, the three men got the vehicle’s tank filled around 11 pm. The murder is suspected to have been carried out about an hour later. The three have confessed they were under the influence of liquor,” Kumar said.

The official account of Bareilly police tweeted on 24 March, “Accused were arrested based on CCTV footage and technical evidence along with corroborative evidences.investigstion is based on facts and evidences, which are subject to judicial scrutiny. it is not based on assumptions (sic).”

In any case, Sewaram is no more and the two brothers are now orphans. Rajneesh says the dhaba would fetch the family an income of about Rs 6,000-7,000 a month.

“I used to work at a factory, earning about Rs 6,000 a month. But I lost the job sometime back. So I began to help my father full-time. I was trying to grow the business,” he says.

After the tragedy, Rajneesh says the family would close the dhaba.

“We cannot bear to go to the same place everyday where my father has been most brutally killed. There is an additional reason for closing the dhaba down and that is security. None of us feels safe to spend the night there or even stay up late for work,” he said.

Rajneesh said that besides the emotional trauma of losing both parents, the brothers are staring at a dismal future. “We are penniless. None of us has any other mode of earning. We will have to begin from scratch,” he said.

Swati Goel Sharma is a senior editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @swati_gs.

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