Residents of Shastrinagar stage a blockade on Kadma-Bistupur Road on Tuesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Vehicular movement on the busy Kadma-Bistupur Road came to a standstill for over two hours on Tuesday morning after residents of Shastrinagar set up a blockade to protest the arrest of a man for the alleged murder of an auto driver on Monday.
Sources said Mohammed Farid was bludgeoned to death by three men after a quarrel over drinking alcohol at Block No. 1 of Shastrinagar in Kadma police station area around 10.30pm on Monday. The 35-year-old was rushed to Tata Main Hospital’s emergency ward where he was declared brought dead.
Soon after the incident, a police team led by Kadma sub-inspector Raju Thakur visited the area. As the locality is a sensitive area, senior superintendent of police Akhilesh Kumar Jha and deputy superintendent of police (headquarters-II) Rajkishore Prasad also rushed to the spot.
By then, local residents had managed to catch hold of one of the assailants, Mohammed Usman. Witnesses told the police that Usman was trying to flee after the clash. After initial investigation, the police took Usman into custody.
In the brawl, one Bhola Prasad, who was identified as one of the assailants, was injured and taken to MGM Medical College and Hospital.
On Tuesday morning, police also nabbed the third person allegedly involved in the murder but refused to disclose his identity.
However, around 8am, nearly 150 frenzied protesters — all residents of the minority-dominated Shastrinagar Block No. 2 area — burnt tyres on the road and set up a blockade near Kadma police station demanding the release of Usman.
They claimed Usman was innocent and wrongly implicated in the murder. Like Farid, Usman is also a resident of Shastrinagar Block No. 2. The agitators demanded that the police immediately arrest Bhola Prasad, claiming he had killed Farid while Usman was trying to save the victim.
A large number of vehicles, including cars, auto-rickshaws, two-wheelers and mini-buses remained stranded on either side of Kadma-Bistupur Road.
The blockade was lifted after DSP Prasad arrived at the spot and assured the protesters that the police would thoroughly investigate the matter.
He told The Telegraph that Usman had been caught while trying to flee the spot, but the residents were now claiming that he was innocent.
“There was no witness from outside the area. So, we will interrogate each and every person and find out the exact reason behind the murder and precisely who is responsible,” he added.
He said the police were interrogating the two other suspects besides Usman, including Bhola Prasad who was in hospital.
“If it is established that Usman is innocent, we will no longer keep him in custody. Otherwise, we will send him to the jail,” said the DSP.
A relative of Usman claimed Farid was a father of three. He added Usman could never be involved in a brawl.
The police have sent the victim’s body to the MGM Medical College mortuary for post-mortem and registered a case of murder against the three suspects.