Akhlad Khan is a case attendant of Shahrukh Pathan, he is a writer journalist and previously associated with The Times of Uttar Pradesh as Sub Editor. Akhlad Khan met with the family of Shahrukh Pathan, read his case thoroughly and when he found that Shahrukh and his family left alone due to the propaganda of the Indian media, his consciousness doesn’t allow him to sit idle. He then decided to take his case and become the case attendant with the sole motive to fight for his justice. Anwarul Hoda talked to Akhlad Khan, to discuss Shahrukh Pathan case and uncover the information and facts which are hardly spoken  

Tell us about Shahrukh Pathan, how exactly he is involved in Anti-Muslim February Delhi Pogrom Cases? 

First of all thank you so much for putting up concerns for Shahrukh the forgotten face merely because of being infamous, defamed and scapegoated by the biased National media.

Shahrukh Pathan you may say a normal boy became infamous for his act of brandishing a Pistol during the Northeast Delhi Violence. He almost came to be the most negative face of Delhi Pogrom, which was sponsored to target Muslims. He was a college dropout interested in modelling and bodybuilding.  

He used to make TikTok videos and run small scale socks repairing shop from home. The violence in Delhi followed an organized and systematic pattern against Muslims and their properties. The testimonies suggest that Muslim women protesters were attacked on the basis of their religious identity; their Hijabs and Burqas were pulled off. The Minority Commission report cites a complaint of a woman alleges that the Police pulled their pants down and pointed their genitals towards the women stating that they wanted ‘Freedom’.

Shahrukh a resident of Mustafabad went to safeguard women when they were sexually harassed and attacked by the goons and when the unarmed Police was acting as the spectator. Shahrukh was attacked by a mob, he succeeded in pulling a Pistol from somebody and fired in Air to deter the public and dispersed the violent goons.

In order to dwarf BJP perpetrators media was made to run stories on Shahrukh to project him as the Poster Boy and to defame his family.

There is a saying “Innocent unless proven guilty”, why that does not apply in Shahrukh Pathan’s case?

Well I would say maybe because he is SHAHRUKH PATHAN. The pertinent question that haunts our mind “Is Shahrukh being made scapegoat merely because of his religious identity?” If not so, then why KapilGujjar is roaming free Shahrukh is languishing behind the bars as an under trial?

A riot in which more than 50 people were killed and over 200 injured comprises mostly of Muslims and yet most of the FIRs have been registered against Muslims.

There are testimonies and reports that suggest the rioters were protected and given free hand by the Delhi Police; there are videos that show the Pro-CAA supporters along with the Delhi Police pelted stones at the Anti-CAA group. There is a video, which also shows that the Anti-CAA group attacked two Boys, one died in the presence of Police. And yet Muslims were projected as the mastermind and of this dastardly riot (which is rather Pogrom), claimed mostly Muslim lives and their properties.

This is of the utmost pathetic state that “Liberals and Seculars” too without enquiring made Shahrukh the villain of the Anti-Muslim violence. Shahrukh was captured brandishing a Pistol and all the blames were shifted to him? How fair is this?

Are these people not aware of the “Right to Self Defense”?  Have they never come across with phrase “Necessity knows no Law”?

What are the cases registered against him? Tell us about the current status of these cases.

There are basically two cases Shahrukh has been named in. The Police Officials have smoothly planted victims, witnesses, pieces of evidence and testimonies merely to persecute and create a sense of fear in the heart and minds of the minorities.  

Shahrukh has been booked for an attempt to murder, under the Arms Act and for using criminal force to deter a public servant from performing his duty. It must be noted that Shahrukh has caused no Injuries, forget murder.  

The First Bail matter of FIR 49 is listed in the Sessions Court, Karkardooma. Whereas, the second case has been put on hold after Shahrukh denied Bail by the Delhi High Court.

To fetch good results we need to change the strategies, and I am planning to engage a Senior Supreme Court Lawyer to strive in the honourable Supreme Court to seek Bail in the Second Case of FIR 51.

Why he is being denied Bail repeatedly? Does he have any past criminal record?

No, Shahrukh does not have any past criminal record. He was captured on camera brandishing a Gun and dispersing violent goons during the riots on February 24, 2020. That is all his “Crime”.

He was apprehended on the 3rd of March 2020 and has been languishing behind the bars since then despite the non-commencement of trial. The trial has been suspended indefinitely the inhumane brunt of which is being faced by Shahrukh.

Denying the Bail application in the Second case of FIR 51, the Sessions court observed “The accused is alleged to have participated in the riots and has been duly identified; his picture speaks volumes about the involvement and the conduct of the accused on the said day”. Whereas the High Court dismissed the same Bail petition stating that whether or not Shahruk’s intention was to kill the complainant or any other person, but he took the law into his hands. The prosecution with their sheer propaganda has managed to imprint every mind including the minds of the judiciary and the courts simply believed whatever the prosecution said and dismissed the Bail application.

This indefinite incarnation at the Pre-Trial stage, when no other investigation is required to be done directly infringes upon the personal liberty of the petitioner, the petitioner cannot be made to suffer and must be released on Bail when there is going to be a delay in conducting the trial.

We don’t see many solidarity forums or spaces enquiring about his case or demanding the release of Shahrukh. Why is it so?

There could be multiple reasons behind this dormancy. A section of alleged Liberals and Seculars count him as a rioter since he was seen with a Pistol at the site of violence. There also exist a section of people who believes in the fabricated stories run by the biased National media portals which are deliberately branding Shahrukh as the Poster Boy of the pogrom.

There are activists who did not like to include his name in the list of Political Prisoners, whereas Shahrukh indulged himself in trouble to save the women protesters. Nevertheless, we believe that every accused is innocent unless proven guilty and I am sure that he will be proven innocent since he stood up in self-defence, it’s the right guaranteed by the Indian constitution itself.  

Shahrukh has been branded as the Poster Boy of the Delhi Pogrom, while those who were involved in the hate speech go without facing the consequences. How do you see this?

I see it as nothing but a gross abuse of power by the Police Officials to furtherance their political vendetta. The riots according to the Minority Commission report broke out immediately after Kapil Mishra’s speech on February 23, 2020, at Maujpur where he spoke of forcibly removing the protesters from Jaffrabad.

The Delhi Police failed to take necessary steps or chose to ignore and that caused the violence. The Deputy Commissioner of Police Northeast District Shri. Ved Prakash Surya was standing next to Kapil Mishra when he said “after that, we will not listen to the Police…” despite that Police did not arrest Kapil Mishra and all those who gathered and cheered his hate speech.

The Delhi Police, who reports directly to Home Minister Amit Shah, either stood idle or chose to escort the mobs. Videos of Police breaking the CCTV cameras and taunting prone and bleeding Muslim men while filming them with their smartphones circulated on social media. The Minority Commission report alleges that the Police was coordinating with the violent mob and in return, it received applause. The report says that the mobs were chanting “Dilli Police Zindabad” (Long Live Delhi Police).

Being the Case Attendant of Shahrukh Pathan, how has been your experience so far? We were informed that you were attacked by masked men?

Shahrukh was the first arrest in Delhi violence cases. I opt to help him legally when I found that no organization or person stood up to support his family. The criminal justice system works on the guiding principle that “every accused is innocent unless proven guilty” and yet contrary to the principle, Shahrukh has been indefinitely incarcerated ever since his arrest.

Jamiat-e-Ulema Hind’s both the factions had cold-shouldered him since he was scapegoated as the poster boy. I saw Shahrukh in the viral video and decided to help him legally since he stood up to save his community, his own people.

It’s been more than a year doing his Bail Cases from the outset. I knew it was the most highlighted case of 2020 though never had thought that this will push me through hardships. I was threatened on Social Media, anonymous creeps sent a threatening letter at my door, moreover, there happened n incident when two masked men entered the hotel (River View) with weapon and threatened me while I was staying there. Nevertheless, I chose to be with Shahrukh since I know everybody else has failed him. 

I can say that an exaggerated fear, hatred and hostility towards Islam and Muslims is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination and the marginalization and exclusion of Muslims from social, political and civic life. And there has been an exponentially rise in hate crimes since the BJP came into power.

It was the 10th of March 2020 when I first met Shahrukh’s mother. Aunty was very nervous and frightened. She told me that some goons tried to set her house ablaze, which was saved by the neighbours. Shahrukh’s Father is a converted Muslim, he was a Sikh (Baldev Singh) a resident of Punjab, and he accepted Islam and shifted to Delhi as ‘Sabir Ali’. The Muslim community cold-shouldered them after the riot incident and the family was going through a tough public trial.

I was actually surprised to know that the boy who indulged himself in trouble and saved many lives were left to rot in Jail. My conscience urged me to came forward and help Shahrukh legally in every possible way. And after that, I stood up to fight for Shahrukh’s justice no matter what.

I met and signed Advocate Asghar Khan and Suneel Mehta as the First counsel, the interim Bail was rejected by the Delhi High Court, I then decided to re-strive and changed the counsel to Advocate Khalid Akhtar. We filed the regular Bail petition, which was too dismissed by the High Court in April 2021. I promised Shahrukh and his mother to be there in every possible way until we get Shahrukh out of illegal detention.

Muslims have increasingly become the pilloried equivalent of all kinds of troubles. Not only are they seen as a trouble and blamed for crime, violence and fundamentalism.

Although my experience had been astonishing throughout while seeking justice for Shahrukh, maybe the negative portrayal of Shahrukh by the media but I really feel proud that Allah chose me for this boy who is also known as a saviour of Humanity. You can say that he is my younger brother now and I’ve got a family through this case. He relies on my efforts and I’ll make sure to help him with all of my bests.

What conclusion you would draw on the roles of the Delhi Police and the Indian Judiciary in regards to Shahruk’s case?

We’ve been facing a biased environment, the Police Officials and the prosecution are so hell-bent on misleading the court that the only exculpatory evidence according to which this instant FIR 51 was forced to be lodged by senior Police Officers is the alleged viral mythical video which claims to have captured Shahrukh shoot at the complainant with intent to kill him.

However, the video, the sole evidence on which the case has been registered is not yet been submitted in the court despite it being submitted by the witness Saurabh Trivedi to the Police officials. This simply suggests a conspiracy against Shahrukh otherwise police must submit that video or dismiss the case against him.

In stark contravention to such clear position of the laid down law, Shahrukh has been languishing behind the bars for the past 16 months despite the non-commencement of trials. The facts our counsel argued on in the session court were excluded from the orders passed by the Additional Session Judge because the prosecution failed to challenge these facts. The judge completely ignores the interview of the complainant with the news channels by conveniently stating that such interview are not the part of charge sheet. Moreover, the Judge also chose to ignore the press conference conducted by the Narcotic Division, crime branch immediately after the arrest of the applicant on 3rd March 2020 wherein the Police Officer had himself stated that “though the applicant had pointed Gun at the complainant but he never shot at him..” The court shrugged of this glaring statement of the complainant by holding that such media interviews are not part of the charge sheet whilst ignoring the fact that in the instant case the complainant and the investigating agency are the Police officials themselves. They can cherry pick evidence of their own choosing.

If we are to judge the conduct of the prosecution in the light of the above, we can safely say the prosecution has scant regard for the rule of law and judiciary and it believes that it can do anything any which way unabated. These facts are pertinent to be brought to notice merely to refresh the forgetful minds of the era and the undeclared dictatorial regime that we live in.

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