“Too Scared To Return”: A Week Later, Justice Still Evades Meerut Victims

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The woman was slapped repeatedly by a female cop while her colleagues passed objectionable remarks.

Meerut:

A week after a Hindu woman and a Muslim man were targeted by a group of right-wing activists and four policemen in Meerut for being friends, they seem no closer to getting justice. While three of the four policemen have been "punished" with a transfer to Gorakhpur, the home constituency of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, none of the 18 right-wing activists have been taken into custody so far.

This was hardly what the two expected when Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police OP Singh promised to take corrective action against the "errant cops" immediately after the incident came to light. Today, with no FIR being filed against any of the police personnel involved and all their attackers — purportedly affiliated to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad — walking free, the victims of the attack have decided to stay away from Meerut for fear of being attacked again.

"I don't want to return to college because I am scared and embarrassed. I get frequent threat calls from the accused and their relatives… they say they will come to my college and kill me," the man said. He does not expect the police to provide protection, given that he has not even been called to record a statement yet.

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The Uttar Pradesh police, however, maintained that the three cops — Neetu Singh, Salek Chand and Priyanka — have been transferred to Gorakhpur to ensure a fair investigation. Shahensar Pal, a home guard who was also in the vehicle, remains in Meerut.

When NDTV contacted Meerut Superintendent of Police (City) Ranvijay Singh, he claimed that the police were busy with the ongoing Kranti Yatra. "We will look into this case after that," he said.

According to the Muslim man, the incident occurred on September 23 when the woman dropped by his residence to collect a book. "She was just about to leave when a group of people came along and started asking me my name. They then began to beat me up, saying that it was unsavoury for two people from different communities to meet like this. They told me that it always starts with friendship, then advances to romance and love jihad," he said.

According to the victim, his assailants hit him all over his body — including his private parts — until his eyes and nose began to bleed. They received no relief even when a UP 100 van arrived at the spot some time later; the police simply picked up the woman and left.

The nightmare was far from over. The woman was slapped repeatedly by a female cop – identified as Ms Singh – in the police vehicle even as the others passed objectionable remarks.

Videos of both the incidents went viral in the days that followed, and the policemen were suspended in the midst of widespread uproar. Even Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police OP Singh took to Twitter to promise stringent action.

"The Meerut incident is an act of gross imprudence by a few errant cops. Irresponsible and insensitive behaviour by UP cops will not be tolerated. The job of a policeman is to maintain the highest standards of probity, which must be upheld at all times. Corrective action is being taken," he tweeted.

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