Lucknow, July 4: Nine Muslim men, who were brutally beaten up by the police while in custody in a Saharanpur station, were released after the cops said there was no evidence against them.
The young men, who were randomly picked up by the police in the wake of protests against BJP’s suspended spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s provocative remarks, have sustained severe injuries due to the custodial violence but were freed after spending 23 days behind bars.
Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Shalabh Mani Tripathi, former media advisor of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, had called it “Balwaiyon ko return gift” (return gift to the rioters), while posting a video of the police beating up the innocent Muslim men inside what appeared to be a police lock-up.
The video, which went viral, showed two cops brutally hitting nine men with sticks while the men begged them to stop and tried to fend off the blows with their hands.
The police initially denied the beatings and expressed doubts over the authenticity of the video, but later ordered an inquiry after there was outrage over the custodial violence. “The inquiry is still on,” a police official said in Saharanpur.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav also shared the video on his Twitter account and strongly condemned the incident saying that “questions must be raised on such lock-ups else justice will lose its relevance.” “UP is number one in custodial deaths, human rights violations and persecution of Dalits,” Yadav had said.
The state saw widespread violent protests in Prayagraj, Lucknow, Saharanpur, Deoband, Firozabad, Hathras and Moradabad due to Nupur Sharma’s remarks.