An RTI activist was abducted from Dankaur town in Gautam Budh Nagar district on December 13, burnt with cigarette butts on his private parts and beaten with iron rods before being dumped near a petrol pump in a neighbouring district four days later.
A medical report of the Dankaur government hospital notes Anoop Singh, 29, has 40 burn injuries all over his body, including on his face, thighs, legs and private parts.
Though an FIR has been filed at the Dankaur police station, the UP police are treating the case as a routine affair.
“Criminals burnt the victim’s body parts, probably with cigarettes. But that is normal. We are investigating the matter,” said Shailendra Pratap Singh, station house officer, Dankaur police station.
Anoop’s family also told HT that they were under immense pressure from the local panchayat to withdraw the FIR.
Anoop is the vice-president of the Dankaur unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In the past, he has filed several Right to Information (RTI) applications, mostly regarding infrastructure projects, which have earned him the reputation of being a whistleblower in his area.
Singh’s family told HT that Anoop had been threatened by a road and pavement construction contractor last month after an RTI he filed with the Yamuna Expressway Authority in October resulted in a committee being formed to inspect the quality of the contractor’s work in Sikka village, neighbouring Dankaur.
"Anoop first raised his voice against inferior quality work in the area. Later, he filed an RTI with Yamuna Expressway Authority, asking for details of work, budget and contractors engaged in development work. The Authority did not reply to the RTI so he filed a reminder," said a member of Singh’s family, who asked not to be named.
Not satisfied with the subsequent inspection because the committee only lifted a sample from one spot and not from multiple spots, Anoop wrote to the Gautam Budh Nagar senior superintendent of police, district magistrate and Uttar Pradesh chief minister flagging the issue.
Less than a month later, he was abducted.
Anoop told HT that he was returning to Dankaur from Sikka village on his motorbike on December 13 and was barely a kilometre away from home when four or five armed assailants in a SUV rammed into his bike. "They thrashed me, and forcefully drugged me to keep me unconscious for four days, probably in Bulandhshar area. Without offering me any food they beat me daily and burnt me with cigarettes and hot iron rods," he said.
They took me to multiple locations. Whenever I gained consciousness, they forced me to ingest sedatives," he added. Fearing that he might be attacked again, his family brought him home from Dankaur government hospital on Wednesday. They are considering admitting him to a Delhi hospital now.
"When he did not return, we searched for him everywhere. Later, we lodged an FIR," said Bacchu Singh, Anoop’s uncle.
The abductors dumped Anoop near a petrol pump in Jahangirabad, Bulandshahr, on the night of December 16. Locals searched his pockets in order to identify him and managed to contact his family. The family and the local police then took him to hospital.