On Monday, August 28th, Aqib Pathan, a cattle businessman hailing from Bharuch town in the state of Gujarat, was brutally assaulted, leaving him with grievous injuries.
On the same day, around 7 a.m., Aqib went out to search for his lost buffalo near the Narmada river. While he was on his way, he was stopped by Bhavesh Patel, a far-right Hindu leader, who questioned Aqib for taking a public roadway he took every day. He was subjected to a brutal thrashing, afterwards.
Interestingly, Bhavesh Patel is also an accused in the Ajmer Blast case and is currently out on bail.
Aqib said that he was beaten by Bhavesh while he was trying to locate his missing Buffalo.
“I told Bhavesh Patel that my only intention was to locate my missing animal, yet he persisted in denying my right to use the road. Despite my explanation that the road was accessible to the public at large, Bhavesh called his brother, resulting in an unfortunate altercation where both of them subjected me to physical aggression,” said Aqib.
When the men departed, Aqib stepped off the road and phoned his brother to come and take him to the hospital.
“After Bhavesh and his brother went into their home, I managed to reach out to my brother, urgently requesting assistance. However, their ears caught wind of my call for aid, prompting their return to the scene. This led to another round of physical aggression, directed not only at me but also at my brother,” he said.
Aqib alleged that the men gave death threats to him and his brother and told them not to use the route again. He also alleged that when a police constable appeared at the location, Patel continued to issue death threats in the presence of the police officer.
“We went to the police station to get an FIR registered but the police did not file any. I and my brother were seriously injured; hence, we went to the hospital and were kept waiting there. We continuously asked the police to file an FIR. A group of police officers arrived at the location, we requested the lodging of a First Information Report (FIR) but our request was met with refusal, and instead, we were pressured to seek a compromise,” he said.
Aqib persisted in his request for a First Information Report (FIR), yet the police denied his right to file one. Aqib claims that the police also threatened him, stating that if he didn’t reach a settlement, they would ensure that if any case emerged from his community, they would ensure physical harm to the residents of his area.
“They kept us waiting for 12 hours straight and still didn’t file our FIR, and when I kept demanding an FIR, instead of lodging mine, they registered Patel’s FIR, and finally after insistence, when they registered one, they simultaneously read his FIR while writing mine to manipulate the whole thing.”