Muslim teenager Mudassir Alam was killed in a protest in India. His family wants to answer

Social media of the June 10 protest shows 15-year-old Mudassir Alam raising his fist as the crowd chants “Long live Islam”.

More shots are heard and Mudassir falls to the ground.

“He is dead!” shouts a bystander as people try to stop blood from a wound from flowing to the teen’s head.

Mudassir later died in hospital, one of two young men killed in the Ranchi clash – the latest victims of a deeper religious divide between India’s majority Hindu population and the Muslim minority community.

The June 10 protest was one of several demonstrations that erupted across the country after two former spokesmen for India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made derogatory comments about Islam’s prophet Mohammed.

Mudassir’s grieving father, Parvez Alam, does not know who killed his teenage son, but in a complaint to police, he accused officers of “arbitrarily firing AK-47s and pistols aimed at the Muslim mob.”

He alleged that at least three other men fired bullets at protesters from the roof of the Hindu Shree Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple near where Mudassir was standing on the street.

“Due to the shooting from the temple roof and by the police, there was a chaotic situation and a bullet hit my son in the head,” Alam said in his complaint.

Ranchi’s deputy commissioner Chhavi Ranjan confirmed that Mudassir and another man, Sahil Ansari, were later pronounced dead at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Science due to “bullet injuries” sustained during the protest.

Ansari’s father, Mohammad Afzal, told CNN that his 20-year-old son was returning home from his job and selling cell phones in the market when “the police opened fire.”

Sahil Ansari, 20, was also fatally shot during protests in Ranchi.

Ranjan said that “the police opened fire because the crowd was violent and the first shots were fired from the crowd”, but he would not comment on which crowd he was referring to, as the case was under investigation.

Amol Homkar, Inspector General of Jharkhand Police, said a two-member commission had been formed to investigate the incident, and a special investigation team from Ranchi Police is also investigating. Homkar said 12 people were injured during the protest and 30 were arrested in the days after, although he did not specify any charges.

CNN has examined footage of the protest, which sometimes shows police firing indiscriminately at the protesters, none of whom — including Mudassir — appear to be carrying firearms.

The boy’s father says he wants answers.

“I lost my only child to this violence,” Alam said. “He was only 15, not even an adult yet.”

Shooting

Father and son were working at the family’s fruit stand on Mahatma Gandhi Main Road, a main road through Ranchi, when protesters gathered after Friday prayers, Alam told CNN.

“I was removing my fruit kiosk to avoid damage from protests,” he said. “Mudassir helped me.”

Alam described his son as a “very polite boy” who, like many teenagers his age, loved to make TikTok videos and take pictures on his cellphone.

In a report to the Ranchi Police Department filed two days after his son’s death, Alam said he saw a “crowd” of the “Muslim community” moving north along the main road, and when they saw the Shree Sankat Mochan Hanuman- reached the temple, Mudassir joined them.

Alam claimed that the men standing on the roof of the temple started throwing stones at the protesters and firing at the crowd.

Video from Shree Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, verified by CNN, shows several people hiding on the ground floor, including police officers.

Over the sound of projectiles hitting the building, a woman’s panicked voice says, “Everyone is throwing rocks at the temple. The administration is trying to stop it…but they can’t.” Protesters can be seen throwing stones through the temple’s security screens.

Another video shows crowds outside hurling stones at the temple before gunshots are heard. It is not clear who fired the shots, but the crowd is seen carrying away an unknown man whose white clothes appear stained with blood.

Towards the end of the video you can see police officers with guns walking towards the Muslim protesters, who have withdrawn from their positions outside the temple.

Under India’s Criminal Procedure Code, police officers can use “force” to disperse what they consider to be an illegal gathering.

Irfan Ansari, a Muslim lawmaker from India’s Congress Party, who is part of the ruling coalition in the state, asked why police fired bullets into the crowd and said he would demand that the Chief Minister order a judicial inquiry.

“The Ranchi incident has put the state to shame,” Ansari wrote on Twitter. “The job of the police is to protect, not to shoot.”

Muslims feel attacked

Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP party came to power in 2014, Muslims say they have been treated unfairly by a government that pursues policies in favor of Hindus.

India’s Muslim population of 220 million is vastly outnumbered in a country of 1.4 billion people, and although India claims to be a secular country, many Muslims say they live in fear.

The recent comments made by former BJP representatives about the prophet Mohammed infuriated not only Muslims in India. At least 15 Muslim-majority countries condemned the comments, with some demanding a diplomatic response from Indian ambassadors.

Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar told a town hall of News-18, an affiliate of CNN, on Saturday that the comments did not reflect the views of the BJP.

“What was said was not the party’s position. The party made it very clear and took action,” Jaishankar said.

“Some countries were concerned about it. They trade with us, we are their image of India. Countries that were concerned understand that this was not the government’s position,” he added.

But high-level diplomacy has failed to lessen the anger on Indian streets, where the remarks sparked protests in several major cities. In some places, Muslims say they have been targeted for expressing themselves.

Heavy equipment is being used to demolish the home of a Muslim man accused Uttar Pradesh state authorities of being involved in riots.
Activists in the northern BJP-ruled state of Uttar Pradesh, ruled by Hindu priest-turned-politician Yogi Adityanath, accused authorities of punishing Muslims who were allegedly involved in the protests by destroying their homes

Authorities defended their actions by saying they targeted illegally built houses on public land whose owners had ignored repeated demolition reports.

But victims told CNN that only Muslim homes had been destroyed and no warning was given until their properties were reduced to rubble.

In a statement last week, Amnesty accused the Indian government of “acting selectively and viciously against Muslims who dare to speak out and peacefully express their displeasure at the discrimination they face”.

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Aakar Patel, chairman of the Amnesty International India Board, told CNN that authorities have “violated Indian law and Indian obligations under several treaties that the country has signed”.

“What India is doing is without a judicial process running through it, (it) targets Muslims, targets their homes, even shoots them – all under the pretense of making sure there is no violence in the streets,” he said. said.

CNN has contacted Adityanath’s office but has not received a response. In a tweet on June 11, his media advisor shared a: photographer on Twitter of a yellow bulldozer demolishing a building, writing: “Remember, every Friday is followed by a Saturday.”

Family demands answers

Last Wednesday at the family’s modest home in Ranchi, women surrounded Mudassir’s bereaved mother, Nikhat Parveen, and wiped tears from her eyes as she whimpered.

Parveen told CNN that Mudassir called her after helping his father say he was coming home. “He put his phone down and then he died,” Parveen said.

She said her son was waiting for the results of his high school exam, and on Tuesday they discovered that he had received a 10 in five of his six 10th grade subjects.

“He always said to me, ‘I’m going to get a government job. I’m going to go far in life,'” Parveen said.

“He was incredibly intelligent…he was loved by everyone. He’s not here today and everyone has tears in their eyes.”

His father, Alam, said police have so far frustrated his efforts to file an FIR, a First Information Report, which is needed to launch an official investigation.

“We have tried to take legal action, but the authorities are not cooperating,” he said. “We have reported it to the police, but they have not registered (it).”

Homkar declined to comment on the claim, and Alam’s other allegations, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Alam said his son’s death has robbed his family of their future.

“I am (a) poor worker, me and my son (now dead) would sell fruits and vegetables. He was the only son and future of my family,” he wrote in his police indictment.

Mudassir’s mother asked why there was a need for shooting in a busy street where children, such as her son, were present.

‘Does anyone have the right to do that? Do the police or anyone else have the right to shoot like this?’

When asked what she wanted from the police, she said firmly, “I want justice for my son.”

CNN’s Arpit Goel and Teele Rebane contributed to this report.

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