A 28-year-old man, accused of kidnapping and assaulting a seven-year-old in Haryana's Panipat, probably chopped his hand off while trying to escape when the family rescued the child last month, a senior police officer in Haryana has said. The man's brother, however, has accused the police of deliberately trying to dismiss it as a case of an accident near rail tracks, days after pictures of the alleged attack on the 28-year-old were shared on social media.
Two FIRs (First Information Reports) have been registered. One of the cases has been filed against Ikhlaq, the man from Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur accused of sex assault, under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act.
The other complaint, registered by the 28-year-old's brother, refers to the attack on the man. On finding that "he was a Muslim, some people attacked him and chopped off his arm," the Government Railway Police (GRP) was told by Ikhlaq, officials have said, adding that there are no eyewitnesses who can back his statement.
While a case under POCSO calls for immediate arrest, Ikhlaq is back at his home in Saharanpur, about 100 km from Panipat. He is likely to be arrested soon, policemen in Haryana have said.
"On the intervening night of August 23 and 24, this 28-year-old man allegedly kidnapped and sexually assaulted a seven-year-old child who was sleeping with his family (at their home). The child's home is near the rail tracks. According to the family, they rescued the child and caught the 28-year-old but he managed to escape. The family, without contacting the cops, got the MLR of the child from a local hospital," senior police officer Satish Kumar Vats said in a statement.
The family also said that Ikhlaq had escaped unhurt at the time and they are not aware about the details of his injury.
On August 24, officers from the Railway Police found Ikhlaq with his arm chopped near a rail track. "He said that he reached Panipat, looking for a job. Later, on finding out that he was a Muslim, some people attacked him and chopped off his arm. The GRP (Government Railway Police) officers contacted us and also got Ikhlaq admitted in Civil hospital of Panipat from where he was referred to PGI Rohtak," Mr Vats further said in his statement.
"When we got to know about the case, we approached the family and recorded their statement. Meanwhile, Ikhlaq remained unfit for a few days. Later, he also recorded his statement with us. FIRs were registered against both the parties on September 7. Now, we have been told that Ikhlaq has left PGI Rohtak without being discharged. We are verifying the claims from PGI and will also contact his brother," the statement further read.
"He may have injured himself while escaping when the family rescued the child," Mr Vats has said.
Recalling the alleged attack on Ikhlaq, his brother told the journalists: "My brother went to Haryana's Panipat for work. He did not have any place to rest... so he was sitting in a park. Two people came, asked his name and started beating him up. They left after a while. My brother did not notice where they went. After recovering a bit from the assault, my brother went and knocked on a door. The people in the house dragged him inside - it was all pre-planned." The brother's account had no mention of the child sex assault case.
"They thrashed him viciously and then used a saw cutter to sever his hand that had "786" written on it. He fell unconscious and he was left by the side of rail tracks. He regained consciousness and then called us. I know someone in Panipat and they went and recognised him and took him to a hospital. The cop, who went along, said it was a 'rail ka maamla' (a matter linked to the Railways). This was a GRP cop. My brother kept on insisting this incident has nothing to do with a train but he did not listen," he added.