Dilbar Negi, a 20-year old employee of Anil Sweets Corner, was killed by a Muslim mob in a brutal manner on the night of 24 February. The Sweets shop where he worked was located at Shiv Vihar Tiraha, one of the biggest hotspots of violence during the riots. Police have filed as many as 10 FIRs in incidents that occurred in this small area.
Negi’s completely charred body was recovered two days after his murder. His postmortem report reveals disturbing details. Facial features were not recognisable. Both the legs were missing. His scalp was burnt out exposing the underlining skull bone. Both lungs and liver were hard, converted into thick mass.
Anil Kumar, who is running the shop for last 25 years, told the Police that as usually Negi had gone to his godown to take rest after eating lunch at around 1:30 PM. Half and hour later, Anil and his other employees heard a commotion outside and saw that Muslim mob was gathering with sticks, stones and guns.
”The people in the crowd were shouting slogans against Hindus and saying that will throw these kafirs out of the country, kill them and take away daughters of Hindus. The crowd was abusing Hindus and chanting ‘Hindu murdabad’,” Anil told the Police.
Another eye-witness from the area told the Police something similar about slogans raised. “They were shouting loudly that they will take away daughters and mothers of Hindus and throw them out of here,” the eyewitness said.
Anil and his employees quickly dawned the shutter and hid inside after the mob came close to their shop. An hour later when things cooled down, they all got out and went to a dairy shop across the road which is owned by Anil’s brother. A bike and a scooty outside that shop were set on fire by the rioters. Anil put out the fire and rescued his brother and nephew who were stuck inside.
Then they went to the roof of the dairy from where Ani’s nephew filmed the rioters who were looting Anil’s shop, ransacking his godown, and pelting stones and bricks on others from the roof.
”I asked my employee Mahesh if any of our people were in the godown and he told me that Negi might be inside,” Anil told the Police. Anil saw the mob setting fire to his properties. He called the Police but it didn’t come.
Anil recognised some faces from the mob. Shahnawaz, one of the rioters, had a shop near Anil’s godown. Another rioter was son of owner of the shop right next to Anil’s. He also identified a few others who have since been arrested.
Around 7:30, Anil went to his home. At 9 PM, he received a call on WhatsApp from a friend who told him that Shahnawaz, along with his aides, has lit his godown on fire.
In the chargesheet, Police have also included statements of others whose homes or shops are near Anil’s godown and who witnessed Shahnawaz and his friends set the godown on fire.
Though Negi’s phone is missing and hasn’t yet been found, Police were able to track his call history. His last two calls were to Mahesh Yadav, an employee of the sweets shop. The last call was made at 9:07 PM.
Mahesh Yadav told the Police that when he talked to Negi last, he had told him that he was hiding in a room in the godown and a lot of people were there and going up and down the stairs.
Based on statements of many eye-witnesses and CCTV camera footage, Police have identified more than 35 rioters; 12 have been arrested while 25 others have not yet been apprehended.
Shahnawaz, the man identified by many locals to be part of the mob that was present at Anil’s godown at 9 PM, admitted to killing Dilbar Negi.
He said that he we went inside Anil’s godown after setting Anil Pastry and Chawla book depot on fire. “Around 9-9:30, we entered the godown where lot of vegetables and cardboards for packing were kept. We went to the second floor but saw that the door of room was locked from inside. The crowd broke it open and saw an employee of Anil there. On enquiring, he told his name was Dilbar. We beat him up and after he lay unconscious, we put papers and cardboards over him and set him on fire. Then, we ran away from there,” Shahnawaz told the Police in his statement.
The chargesheet says that in Call detail record analysis, Police have found that all the 12 arrested accused were present at and around the scene of the crime on 24 February.
Out of 12, some of the accused have also been chargesheeted in FIRs related to murder of Dinesh Tiwari, Alok Tiwari, Veerbhan, looting and arson at DRP school and burning properties of other Hindus at Shiv Vihar Tiraha.
Arihant Pawariya is Senior Editor, Swarajya.
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