It is seldom that children of police officers who have died in action, question, in an impassionate manner, the events that resulted in the death of a member of their family. The two sons of SHO Subodh Kumar Singh, who was shot dead in a mob violence in Nayabans village in Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh, Shrey, a graduate of Delhi University and Abhishek, a Class 12 student DPS Noida, are articulate and are willing to question both Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the police establishment about the events that led up to their father’s death. Singh's eldest son, Shrey speaks exclusively to Firstpost about the events that led to his father's death and the situation that has unfolded since.
How many of the 27 people who were named in the FIR and accused of cow vigilantism that resulted in the killing of your father (SHO Subodh Kumar Singh) have been arrested so far?
I understand seven to eight people have been caught, though the main accused in the mob lynching including Yogesh Raj is still absconding. According to sources, the cops have a general idea of where he is but he is yet to be arrested. The Aligarh SP informed us that all these people have been booked under strong charges.
What do you make of the SIT report which suggests that your father’s death was an accident?
It is very strange how they have come to such a conclusion. It was a motivated murder because the 400-strong mob had gathered there to instigate terror. Even the UP Director General of Police OP Singh has said that when we went to meet the chief minister (Yogi Adityanath).
This is a big conspiracy. DGP Singh has assured us that the enquiry is still going on. What is surprising is that all this happened so close to 6 December and the Babri Masjid demolition. Obviously, this cow slaughter agitation has some deep connexions. We have not read the SIT report. We are presently at my father’s village in Etah to complete the final rites.
But even the UP chief minister has called the death an accident?
I have read his statement where he said that it is an accident and not a case of lynching. The government has promised us full co-operation. We will wait for another week following which, we hope to meet the chief minister again. If things are not okay, we will ask for CBI enquiry which should be court-monitored and fast-tracked by the High court and Supreme Court. An example must be made of this case.
Do you have any questions with regards to the circumstances under which your father was killed?
My father never went to a troubled spot alone. He always went with at least three to four constables. And all these constables are armed with carbon rifles or even with an AK-47. In self-defence, the police have been given the right to fire at mobs or criminals. My father also carried his own private pistol which has gone missing. We have not yet received the post-mortem report so we do not know exactly which weapon was used to shoot him, though we were told it was a .32 bore pistol.
But what I have learned after talking to senior officers is that the police were apprehending trouble which is why he received the first phone call at around 5 am from a senior police officer asking him to report to the thana in the early hours of the morning. Some protestors arrived at 11 am at the Chingrawathi chowki. They had brought slaughtered pieces of cow meat to the chowki. The chowki in-charge and others were there.
My father tried to pacify the crowd. There was stone-pelting and my father got hurt. The senior officers in the chowki reportedly hid in a nearby school. My question is: why did no one come forward to help my father? Why did these officers not fire at the mob in order to disperse them? We placed this apprehension before the chief minister and he said that he would conduct an enquiry into the whole matter. He said both the city SP and SSP would be questioned.
Besides, a police driver and a constable were in the Tata Sumo car along with my father. In an interview, the driver said that that he was trying to rush my father to the hospital but the vehicle was surrounded by the mob, and so he and the constable ran for their lives. Why did they not fire in self-defence?
The other question is how did the vehicle with my injured father ended up in an agricultural field? After all, the driver must have used the road to drive the vehicle. He would not have driven it into some fields. Three of my father’s phones are missing. His revolver is missing.
My father's body was carried away and then the car was vandalised and burnt. Who was responsible for burning the police vehicle? We asked these questions to DGP Singh who said that the enquiry is still going in.
All of this does not speak well for the UP policemen who allegedly went into hiding?
In the army, all these cops would have been court marshaled. All I can say is that it was a motivated murder. The mob was there to instigate terror. What is even more shocking for me is that members of the mob were shooting a video about this whole ghastly incident instead of rushing my father to the hospital. Also, it is obvious that this whole thing was pre-meditated because how did a crowd of over 400 people gathere so quickly at that spot? In the videos, you can see my father is standing there alone talking to the mob but all the other police officers are missing. They were more experienced than him. Where were they not with him?
What do you make out of the allegations of cow slaughter, which reportedly incited the crowd?
These people are all anti-social elements who had gathered to ignite communal tensions. The place where the cows were slaughtered in the Mahaw village is close to the area where a large congregation of Muslims had gathered (Tabligi Itjetma). Some people did not like this and wanted to create trouble. My question is: why are the authorities focusing so much on the cows? Are human beings not important to them? I feel human beings are more important than cows.
What do you think of the two videos which have been posted by Yogesh Raj and others in which they are pleading innocence?
I find these videos highly disrespectful. They claim they are innocent they claim they are being framed and yet they are in hiding.
Your father was known to be a brave officer who sustained three bullet injuries earlier in his professional life. What happened in those cases?
It was his nature. He told me that in 2017, when he was SHO Vrindavan, he had been informed some gangsters were on the run. He went after them and was shot in the arm by one of the criminals. Earlier, he was chasing a criminal whose bullet grazed past his neck. He was wearing a chain that saved him. That happened in 2003. This time, he was put in the forefront and he took the bullets. And by doing so, he managed to prevent a major communal conflagration.
Does his killing have anything to do with his investigation in the Akhlaq lynching case?
The state government must find out. What we do know is that when he was the Investigating Officer for this case, he did not hesitate to take action against the accused. Our only priority is to ensure justice for my father. We want to ensure that people are not allowed to take the law into their own hands.
Some BJP leaders had asked for his transfer because he was creating obstacles for their religious functions. Is that true?
My father was very fair in his dealings with everybody. He is known to do his duty in an honest manner.
When did you first learn about what had happened to your father?
I was in the Metro when my mother called to inform that father was seriously ill and we would have to rush to Bulandshahr. I did not realise then that he was dead.
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Updated Date: Dec 09, 2018 13:41:20 IST