A civil rights group has demanded a judicial probe into the riot in Masuri, Ghaziabad, raising serious doubts over the police’s claims about the turn of events.
A four-member fact-finding team of Jan Hastakshep said a clear picture of what happened and what triggered violence was still not available.
Six men were killed in the violence. While three of them died of bullet wounds the rest succumbed to excessive bleeding.
According to journalist Saeed Naqvi, who was part of the team, fear among the residents of Masuri to speak up and inadequate information were a big hurdle in finding out the truth.
“According to police and many local residents, violence erupted after desecrated pages of the Quran were found near railway tracks. A huge crowd gathered at the police station and people from the nearby weekly joined the crowd. Police claimed that they opened fire as the crowd turned violent. But several residents are scared to speak up and that is why a clear picture is yet not available,” said Naqvi.
“Why did the police not try to disperse the crowd and call for reinforcements when they had time in the afternoon? The police said they did not have tear gas shells. Why were they so ill-prepared? The truth cannot be ascertained by an administrative probe,” said NK Bhattacharya, a member of the committee.
Senior superintendent of police (SSP) Prashant Kumar declined to comment.
“We cannot comment on any of these issues as an investigation is going on and an inquiry ordered by the government is under way,” he added.