Hawzah News Agency (Uttar Pradesh, India) - Recalling his reaction on hearing that all three of his buses had been set afire by a mob, Abdul said his first emotion was not fear. It was panic. In January ۲۰۱۸, a 'Tiranga Yatra' (Tricolour March) taken out by Hindu activists on Republic Day triggered a communal clash in Kasganj in western Uttar Pradesh, leaving one person dead. Abdul was a victim of the violence, he said, but "I felt like I could be easily made the accused in a false case and there is nothing I would be able to do about it."
Abdul also feared for his son’s safety. "The police were knocking on the doors of Muslim homes and picking up any Muslim men they could find," he said. Amid a crippling curfew, he rented an ambulance and smuggled his 36-year-old son Yusuf out to a neighbouring district.
In Uttar Pradesh, the state where almost a third of religious identity-based hate crimes in 2018 were recorded–as per Hate Crime Watch, our tracker that records hate crimes across India from 2009 to 2018 – stories of such distrust of the police abound among the Muslim community.
Our investigation from the site of many of these crimes reveals allegations of police excesses including falsely implicating and arresting Muslim men, levying onerous charges against them that are disproportionate to their alleged crime, and applying different legal yardsticks to Muslim and Hindu accused.
In Kasganj, the local police registered a First Information Report (FIR) about the clashes the same night. It described in detail the clashes, the sequence of events, the provocations and the police response to them, and how people from both communities had been involved.
However, the FIR did not name any Hindu men, not even the organisers of the Tiranga Yatra, during which young Hindu men waving saffron flags were alleged to have shouted provocative slogans in the Muslim-dominated Baddu Nagar of Kasganj–some videos purportedly of the scene had gone viral–leading to the first clash.