‘He was taken by a bullet of hate’: Father of teenager shot by Indian police | islamophobia news

'He was taken by a bullet of hate': Father of teenager shot by Indian police |  islamophobia news
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Ranchi, India – As tens of thousands of parents in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand celebrated their children’s success in the secondary school exam, there was deafening silence in the home of Parwez Alam and Nikhat Perween.

His only son, Mudassir Alam, had passed the state board exams with flying colors, securing 67 percent in the results announced on Wednesday.

But the 15-year-old was not home to celebrate with them.

Mudassir allegedly shot dead by police on June 10 during protests in the state capital, Ranchi, over derogatory comments made against the Prophet Muhammad and his wife Aisha by members of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

As family and supporters gathered at her home, only the sobs of Nikhat and words of comfort from her husband Parwez, who makes a living selling fruit from a pushcart, could be heard in their rented one-bedroom home in Hindpiri, a densely populated city. Predominantly Muslim lower-middle class neighborhood behind the main Ranchi market.

“My wife and I hoped that one day our son would get a good education, which would improve our financial situation. But the bullet of hate took him away from us forever,” Parvez told Al Jazeera.

Almost a month ago, Nupur Sharma, now a suspended spokeswoman for the BJP, made offensive comments against the Prophet during a prime-time debate on one of India’s major news channels. Sharma’s comments were soon backed up by another BJP official, Naveen Kumar Jindal, who tweeted in support of her and made similar comments against Islam.

The comments sparked nationwide protests and triggered a diplomatic backlash against New Delhi after several Muslim-majority countries, mainly in the Arab world who generally enjoy close relations with India, summoned the Indian envoys and demanded an apology.

In neighboring Bangladesh and Pakistan, thousands take to the streets, demanding that Muslim nations boycott Indian products and cut ties with India. The United States condemned the comments too.

The BJP, in damage control mode, suspended Sharma and expelled Jindal, issuing a rare statement saying it “strongly denounces insults from any religious personalities” and asking its spokespeople to be “extremely cautious” on religious matters. in television debates.

But the measures failed to advertise to Muslims, who had already been fighting relentless hate speech and attacks by BJP leaders and Hindu supremacist groups allied with the right-wing party since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.

On June 10, thousands of Muslims demonstrated in several cities after Friday congregational prayers, demanding the arrest of the two BJP leaders for their Islamophobic comments.

A similar protest was held that day in Hindpiri.

While police say protesters threw stones at them, area residents say police fired on protesters without warning, killing Mudassir and 24-year-old Sahil Ansari on the spot.

Dozens of protesters were injured, some seriously, including 19-year-old Afsar Alam, who was shot six times by police. Alam is still in a hospital, and since the police have a case against him, they will send him to jail once he recovers.

How is it that we are the ones who receive the bullets, the blows and also those who go to jail?

by Sarfaraz Alam, father of teenager shot by police

‘I saw it collapse’

Recalling the day she lost her son, Parwez said: “I called Mudassir to my car after prayers. Meanwhile, the crowd began to swell on the way. Seeing the crowd, I started to move my cart to the other side of the road to protect it from being damaged in the protest.”

“When I started to push him, I saw Mudassir standing in the middle of the street with the crowd. I was looking at him when he collapsed from the bullet within seconds,” he told Al Jazeera as tears rolled down his cheeks.

Nikhat said her husband has not gone out to sell fruit since their son’s murder.

“On June 10, my husband went out to sell fruit for the last time. He hasn’t been out since our son’s death. He says that the one who used to win is no longer alive, so who should I work for? he told Al Jazeera.

“It feels like my Mudassir is standing on his 10th score sheet and wants to hug me. He would always express happiness from him in this way,” the mother said.

Nikhat said Mudassir wanted to get a government job and would study hard for it.

“Seeing the results of the meeting, I can’t help but remember this. Now I only have one reason left to be alive: to get justice for my son,” she said.

To seek justice, those from Mudassir and Sahil must register a Family Information First Report (FIR) with the police. But the families say the police were refusing to do so and instead had filed charges even against the two dead youths.

“We go to the police station every day but we come back disappointed. There is no one to listen to us. It is extremely sad that the deceased and injured have also been charged by the police. Now we will have to learn to deal with these cases along with our miserable lives,” Mudassir’s uncle Shahid Alam told Al Jazeera.

When Al Jazeera asked the police about it, Ashish Gupta, deputy inspector general of police in Ranchi, said that a special investigation team (SIT) had been formed to investigate the June 10 violence.

“All the cases are being investigated for the same thing. So the investigation is still ongoing,” she said.

When asked why FIRs about the two murders had not been recorded, Gupta admitted that the police had received written requests from the two families.

“But there has already been an FIR in that matter that is part of the SIT investigation… So far more than 30 FIRs have been registered in the whole case.”

We go to the police station every day but we come back disappointed. There is no one to listen to us.

by Shahid Alam, uncle of murdered teenager

Six bullets in his body.

Mohammed Shoaib, Ansari’s older brother, who was shot dead with Mudassir on the fateful day, said he earns just 7,000 rupees ($90) a month working in an auto shop.

“Sahil had just completed his second year of graduation and was working in a mobile shop earning about Rs 15,000. [$200] one month. It was a great support for us and a great hope for the future,” he told Al Jazeera.

“It has been hard on my mother, her blood pressure and sugar levels have skyrocketed. She also has heart problems. She has been dealing with breathing problems and heightened anxiety and restlessness ever since she found out that my deceased brother was charged as well.”

Alam, who was shot by police with six bullets, is being treated at a state hospital in Ranchi. He said that he wasn’t even part of the June 10 protest and that he was just crossing the streets when he was shot.

“I had nothing to do with the protest. I had my class 11 exams on June 16, so I was going to my university to pick up my admission card. On my way, I stopped at the market to buy dried fruits,” he told Al Jazeera, lying in his hospital bed.

“Seeing the protest, the shopkeeper abruptly closed the store. So I decided to return home. I was crossing the street when I was first shot. Somehow I dragged myself 10 steps forward when I got shot again. After that, I fell unconscious and passed out. When I regained consciousness, I found myself in the hospital and I knew that I received six bullets.”

All bullets lodged in his thigh area have been removed, but not his fears.

“The bullets were fired by the administration, so I am worried about what will happen to us now. Two days ago, the police got all the injured to sign blank papers. We were beyond scared and didn’t dare to ask what the papers were about,” he told Al Jazeera.

“Now I feel worried about the paper I signed. I fear for my career. I once dreamed of joining the Indian Navy, but now I will face the scar of going to jail.”

Alam’s father, Sarfaraz Alam, was moved when recounting his plight.

“How is it that we are the ones who are going to be shot, beaten and also go to jail? My son is innocent. He had sent him to get dried fruit,” the 45-year-old told Al Jazeera.

Unconscious since June 10

Nadeem Alam, 27, was shot in the esophagus area of ​​the neck. He has not regained consciousness since he was shot, his sister Musarrat Parween told Al Jazeera.

“Nadeem was conscious when he was taken to the operating room. He did not regain consciousness after the bullet was removed, but he has frequent seizures. When we talk to the doctor, we hear different statements each time. I feel helpless. I don’t know where to take it and how to guarantee a good deal,” he said.

ranch protest
Nadeem Alam is connected to a ventilator at a hospital in Ranchi [Mohammad Sartaj Alam/Al Jazeera]

Dr Pradeep Bhattacharya, who is treating Nadeem, said: “All parts of his body are healthy, but he has frequent seizures.”

“This is the main problem. There is a sensitive area in the neck. When surgical work is done on that part, it shrinks. Therefore, oxygen does not flow properly. Something like that must have happened at the time the bullet was removed. He is now in a state of unconsciousness. In such a condition, MRI is not possible. Therefore, we have referred him to a better hospital,” he told Al Jazeera.

Musarrat said they have pleaded with ministers and state officials for better treatment.

“It has been said that he will be sent for treatment, but this seems to be just a guarantee,” he said.

“My brother is absolutely innocent. He had gone to the market to buy medicine for his niece who had a fever. But they shot him. Now his name is there in the FIR. We are extremely concerned.”

Maulana Qutubuddin Rizvi, who is a prominent religious leader in the city, said such “heartbreaking incidents” happen every few years in Jharkhand where Muslim youths are being “brutally targeted”.

“Somewhere this reflects the failure of the government and the administration,” he told Al Jazeera.

“When a citizen’s religious sentiments flare up, they take to the streets to protest. The same thing happened that day. Muslim youths were protesting peacefully. But the attitude of the police was unilateral and brutal. AK-47 rifles were even used instead of sticks, water cannons or rubber bullets,” he said.

Rizvi said he met with the state’s chief minister, Hemant Soren, and demanded action.

“I told them that targeting a minority by filing cases against thousands of unknown people is an indication of the administration’s intent. This is completely wrong, it is an injustice and a misuse of the law,” she said.

Meanwhile, at Mudassir’s home in Hindpiri, his uncle Shahid Alam is worried about his grieving parents.

“In this period of mourning, relatives are visiting my brother and sister-in-law, but it is only a matter of time before they take charge of their lives. So Parwez and Nikhat will be even more alone.”

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