Sromona Bhattacharyya Bhattacharyya
Hailing from Kolkata and now a resident of Bengaluru, Sromona is a multimedia journalist who has a knack for digging stories that truly deserve attention.
Until February 3, 2018, Jitendra Yadav was a bodybuilder who was gearing up for the upcoming “Mr Uttar Pradesh” competition. However, a night’s mishap not only crushed his dreams but also his faith in the Indian police system. Apple executive Vivek Tiwari’s murder in Lucknow was nothing short of a deja vu for Yadav as it brought back chilling memories of the incident which left him crippled eight months ago.
Yadav’s life took a sharp turn when an under-trainee sub-inspector of the UP police, Vijay Darshan fired a shot at him, leaving him paralysed from the waist down. The owner and trainer of a Noida based gym, Yadav was the victim of yet another ‘encounter’ which was later proved to be fake. The Logical Indian spoke to the 27-year-old, who now spends his days strapped to the bed, a sharp turn indeed, from his once-healthy lifestyle as a gym trainer.
Yadav, a resident of Prathala Khanjarpur in Noida’s Sector 122 narrated his horrific ordeal to The Logical Indian. After a wedding, he was dropping off two of his friends at night and they were standing outside Yadav’s car when four policemen approached them in a Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza. The policemen informed them that according to new rules which were laid down by the government, four people could not gather and stand together at night.
Yadav said, “I told him that I wasn’t aware of any such rule and just as I said that, Vijay Darshan slapped me, I could tell that he was drunk because he couldn’t even stand properly.” Soon after, the team of policemen and Yadav and his friends entered in a scuffle. Recalling the incident, Yadav said that the police physically harassed them and threatened to shoot him if he did not get into their car with them.
The cops then forced them into the rear seat of the car while the cops sat in the front seat. Yadav and his friends constantly kept asking them to go to the police station, however, their pleas went unheard. When the cops found that Yadav was trying to call his family, one of the cops threw away his phone and threatened to shoot him.
When Yadav and his friends tried to resist police harassment and attempted to get out of the car, Vijay Darshan took out his pistol, turned back and fired his gun at Yadav who was sitting behind the driver’s seat. The bullet tore through his neck and hit the spinal cord, he said. He has no memory of what happened after that, but he said that he remembers every moment leading up to the shot being fired.
It was the same policemen who took Yadav to the hospital where he was admitted for more than 20 days. The cost of treatment was then borne by the police, but after a few days they allegedly stopped financing it and the doctors requested Yadav’s family to take him home. He was discharged on February 25. Yadav was released from the hospital and from then on, his family has been bearing the burden of his treatment which sometimes stretches to Rs 1 lakh in a month.
Yadav’s father is an elderly farmer of limited means. The family had to sell their belongings and do away with their life savings for his treatment. Until the shooting, he was earning a hefty amount of money from running his own gym. Today, the facility remains closed as there is no one other than Yadav to run it. The father of two is unemployed and is surviving on whatever was saved up prior to his ordeal.
He once used to weigh over 100kgs, but today it has come down significantly, a sign of his deteriorating health. With a sense of despair and hopelessness, he said, “My children want me to go outside with them, visit places and enjoy with them, but how can I tell them that I can’t do any of that.”
While Vijay Darshan was arrested, three others who were a part of the incident – Sanjay Tamta, Narendra and Pankaj Singh were only suspended and are now back on duty. Reportedly, the case was supposed to be filed under Section 307 (attempt to murder) but was diluted to Section 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide). The case is currently sub-judice in the Allahabad High Court which even rejected to grant the cop’s bail plea.
Right after the incident, many prominent politicians visited Yadav and assured the family that they are going to help them financially. A disheartened Yadav said no such help came from their end and neither did they come to visit him after that. He said, ”The UP government did not help us in any way and we have to fight our own battles.”
He said, “I heard that Vivek Tiwari ji’s family was compensated by the government, but in my case, the state completely turned their backs towards me.” Yadav’s eight-month-long battle seems to be neverending, however, the family remains undeterred in their spirit as they wish to continue fighting for justice.
Encounter killings have become awfully normalised in Yogi’s Uttar Pradesh with over 60 deaths and many others injured in 2018 alone. Jitendra Yadav is an innocent man who had committed no mistake of his own during that fateful night. The Logical Indian urges the authorities to take stringent actions against those who are guilty and at the same time, give Yadav the justice that he deserves.
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