Nahali tense after locals pelt stones, shoot at NIA, police
Most men from the village have gone into hiding; police party attacked when they went to arrest man suspected of supplying arms for killing RSS leader Ravinder Gosain in Punjab; one constable injuredUpdated: Dec 03, 2017 23:48 IST
Nahali, a village nearly 12km from Modi Nagar town in Ghaziabad, wore a deserted look on Sunday evening as
Nahali, a village nearly 12km from Modi Nagar town in Ghaziabad, wore a deserted look on Sunday evening as most of its men had fled. The “exodus” took place after a team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the UP police was attacked by locals when they reached to arrest a suspect in connection with the Punjab RSS leader’s murder case.
Malook had allegedly supplied arms for the murder of Punjab Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Ravinder Gosain on October 17.
The attack, in which locals opened fire at the police party injuring UP police constable Tahjib Khan, allowed the suspect, Malook, to flee. The police, however, picked up Nazim, who allegedly mobilised villagers for the attack. Locals said, he is one of Malook’s relatives.
“Nazim was picked up for questioning. We have also lodged an FIR at the Bhojpur police station in connection with the violence by villagers,” a senior official with the Ghaziabad police said.
While police said Malook supplied the arms used to kill Gosain in Ludhiana, his family denied the charges.
“Overall, Malook has a good image. Had he been a criminal element, villagers would not have supported him and come to his rescue,” Suleman, Malook’s neighbor said.
“The police teams arrived in 13-14 vehicles between 5 and 6am. Many of them were dressed as civilians and had their faces covered, while the others were in uniform; they were asking for Malook. Later, when they tried to take him away, villagers opened fire and pelted stones,” he said, adding that the police ransacked the belongings of Malook’s family.
Malook’s brother Naushad, who has also gone into hiding, said Malook operates a milk dairy and father to seven children.
“He was acquitted in the murder case and had came out of jail around 8-9 months back. The villagers got angry when police teams came for my brother, but failed to answer why. Locals blocked the roads with bullock carts and pelted stones. The police circled our four houses and jumped inside from neighboring houses. They broke all our belongings,” Naushad said.
He said that the items collected for their sister’s marriage were also damaged in the raid.
“My brother has been implicated because of a political rivalry. He had stood against some people in the election for gram pradhan (village chief). We suspect these people gave information to police and my brother was made a scapegoat. He is absconding,” Naushad said.
The investigation agency, in a press statement, said, “During the raid, a large crowd of men and women tried to obstruct the local police and the NIA team. Some people started firing at the police party. The firing was followed by stone pelting.”
The statement added that the mob also blocked multiple roads, keeping officials from discharging their duty.
“In self defence, the UP Police and NIA personnel also fired in the air. Constable Tahjib Khan of the UP Police suffered a leg injury. One official vehicle was also damaged,” the NIA statement read.
Nahali headman Raees Pradhan said, “Many men fled the village after clashes broke out when the police came to arrest Malook. The village has been tense since Sunday morning but we have requested residents to stay calm. We will support the police and no one will act violently.”
Nahali, which has a dominant Muslim population, is home to nearly 12,000 people.
First Published: Dec 03, 2017 23:48 IST