Man Hacked to Death for Opposing Mosque

Yousuf Ahmed was stabbed 34 times for opposing a mosque next door. No one took cognisance of his complaint or the threats he received.Two of his cars were burnt down near their house and cops did not act.

He's dead, right? Everything is over now, let it be." This, allegedly, was a police inspector's response when the two youngsters called him up on Wednesday minutes after an armed gang stabbed their father 34 times, muting his voice forever after he first raised it in 2010 in protest against a mosque and single-handedly carried on a relentless campaign thereafter.

Cold-shouldered by the authorities, Tausif Bin Ahmed, who is doing B.Com, and PU student Tanveer Bin Ahmed, came to the Bangalore Mirror office on Friday to narrate their story.

Recounting their father's murder, the boys say they called up K G Halli Inspector T Srinivas on his cell phone, soon after their father, Yousuf Bin Ahmed, 52, was brutally hacked to death near Ambedkar Medical College. But they were stunned when the cop allegedly hung up on them after mouthing his cold response.

The Ahmed family claims police apathy toward their predicament is not new. Four months prior to his murder, Yousuf, who worked as a typist near the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) office had petitioned every authority in the state, right from the jurisdictional police station near his house to Home Minister K J George and even the State Human Rights Commission, expressing fear he would be killed simply because he was opposing the construction of a mosque right next to his house.

Yousuf had clearly mentioned the names of those he believed posed a threat to his life. In his letter, the victim had reportedly named a few residents of his neighbourhood, including Kaleem Pasha, the husband of local corporator Irshad Begum. The same people have now been named as accused in the FIR which was registered with the D J Halli police following Yousuf's murder. Yousuf's family feels their sole bread-winner would have been alive today if only the cops had acted diligently and issued a stern warning to those named in the letter.

"Trouble began for our family after our dad started protesting against the construction of a mosque on 5th Cross, Basavanagar in K G Halli police limits. His petitions irked those who were getting the mosque built, and they took to threatening him from the very beginning," say his sons.

Yousuf's contention was that the mosque would cause a nuisance to him and others residing on the same street. So, he single-handedly took on the authorities, filing complaint upon complaint to the police, BBMP and other authorities. When the police and other authorities failed to act, he petitioned the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and Human Rights Commission as well.

After the mosque started functioning, he objected to people parking their vehicles in front of his house. He also objected to the mosque's sound system. Since 2010, hardly a week passed without both parties being summoned to the police station. Allegedly under pressure to favour the larger vote bank using the mosque, cops remained mute spectators to the escalating war between Yousuf and his opponents, which finally ended with his murder.

The boys say they were at the receiving end of constant hostility. Stones were pelted at their home and their cars torched. "On October 4, 2013, a meeting took place in the police station in the presence of a DCP and Joint Commissioner to sort out the issue. At that meeting, the local corporator's husband, Kaleem Pasha, supported by anti-social elements threatened to kill my father, but no action was taken against them. The very next day, one of our cars was set ablaze right in front of our house. Police dismissed the matter as a miscellaneous case. Despite this, our father did not stop voicing his dissent. They burnt another of our cars on January 3, 2014; and the police turned a blind eye again. Since he did not heed their 'warnings', our father was brutally murdered by several armed men who stabbed him no less than 34 times on Wednesday," Tausif and Tanveer told Bangalore Mirror.

Blaming the police for their father's murder, the brothers claimed the police showed a callous attitude to all of Yousuf's petitions seeking protection. "Our father even met Home Minister K J George to ask for help, but nothing came of it. He was the sole bread-winner of our family. With his death, we are literally on the streets with no means to fend for ourselves," they say.

After murdering their father, the men threatened to kill the boys if they raised their voices against the masjid. "They have warned that our entire family will be wiped out one at a time. We need protection." Seeking a CBI inquiry into their father's death, the brothers say they don't believe a police probe will do justice.

Tausif and Tanveer are now planning to petition the High Court, seeking transfer of investigation into their father's murder case from the Bangalore police to the CBI. "We will not give up. We will tread our father's path and fight for justice," they added.

When contacted, K G Halli police inspector T Srinivas, refuted the allegations against him, terming them 'false'. "No police officer will ever turn down the family member of a murder victim so heavily if they call seeking help. I was with an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) squad, investigating a murder reported in Banaswadi jurisdiction when the boys called. I immediately alerted our crime staff, who rushed to the spot and also went to Ambedkar Medical College where Yousuf was shifted. Since the residence of the murder victim comes under my jurisdiction, I sent sub-inspector Shiva Kumar to their house to provide protection to the other family members," he said.

Kaleem Pasha told Bangalore Mirror the family was merely "simmering in anger following the death of their loved one". "In their state of mind, anyone is liable to be accused, including me. The police are investigating the case and a detailed probe will reveal who the real suspects are. I am an educated person and would never intervene in controversial matters. Being the husband of the local corporator, I was asked to attend a peace committee meeting and I advised the family to settle the issue amicably with their neighbours. There have been numerous petitions filed against me by Yousuf Bin Ahmed and his family and I was even called for questioning by the jurisdictional DCP, but I have told them my version."

The Long Fight July 12, 2010: First complaint against the mosque and construction activity given to K G Halli police station. October 25, 2010: Complaint to police commissioner.Subsequently, regular complaints to Assistant Commissioner of Police, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Joint Commissioner of Police. October 5, 2013: Complaint filed first car was burnt. January 3, 2014: Second car torched. January 17, 2014: Final complaint in the form of a booklet, containing photographic evidence, to Chief Minister, Home Minister, DG & IGP, Police Commissioner, SHRC. Yousuf had clearly expressed fear about threat to his life from the corporator's husband, Kaleem Pasha, and others.

(source)

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