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Aligarh encounter: Muslim youths killed were innocent, says slain Hindu priest’s kin

“The police have not yet been able to recover priest’s mobile and bag. Why will they (two Muslims) kill him (priest)? They are innocents.”

ALIGARH: Family of Roop Singh, the slain temple priest in the district told a fact-finding team that 17-year-old Naushad and Mustakeem, 22 shot dead in an encounter by Uttar Pradesh police were innocent.

A fact-finding team recently went to Atrauli and met the families of Naushad and Mustakeem and that of Roop Singh in Safedpur area.

In a press statement, the delegation of rights group Rihai Manch said: “Giriraj Singh, brother of the slain temple priest Roop Singh, not only raised question over the murder of his brother but also on the 20th September police encounter. He said that the time when the priest was killed according to the police is actually the time when his elder brother had met him (priest) at the temple. Regarding the killing in police encounter of the alleged killers of his brother, he said the police have not yet been able to recover priest’s mobile and bag. Why will they (two Muslims) kill him (priest)? They are innocents.”

Talking to right activists and some student leaders of Aligarh Muslim University, slain priest’s brother made some startling revelations:

“This incident (killing of his brother) could not occur without the involvement of some co-villagers. Several times in the past, cash and valuables were stolen from the temple. Once Rs 35,000 and utensils were stolen. Another time, Rs 60,000 and amplifier were stolen. And this time around Rs 90,000 were stolen. It appears that thieves entered the temple and Baba (priest) woke up. Fearing revelation of their identity, thieves killed him. They reached the tube-well nearby. Meanwhile, a couple while spraying chemicals to shoo away wild pigs from their field reached there and with the torchlight they might have identified the thieves. Then they killed the couple too. This shows that the thieves were from the village itself.”

Priest’s brother further said: When he reached the police to file complaint, the police showed him a video wherein a person was saying that he killed Baba and took the last train at 8 PM. How can this be possible when my elder brother had met Baba at 8 PM.”

Under full media glare, police on 20th September shot dead the two youths in connection with six murders in different parts including two Hindu priests, in Aligarh district.

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On 16th September, Three bodies, including that of priest Roop Singh on the premises of Durani Mata Mandirand and a couple, Yogendra Kumar Lodh (40) and his wife Vimlesh (38) were found in a field in Safedpur village under Harduaganj Police Station in Aligarh, according to a leading news agency quoted Aligarh Police as saying.

After the encounter, the police told the media that the duo were involved in the six murders that includes temple priest Roop Singh in the district that took place in one month.

However, kin of Mustakim and Naushad refute the allegation and alleged that the encounter was fake. The mothers of the duo held a press conference in Delhi on Saturday 29th September and appeal to PM Modi for justice.

Rihai Manch’s Rajiv Yadav (extreme left) and his team visiting families of the two Muslim youths killed in encounter in Aligarh on 20th September 2018.

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