“How can my son be said to have drowned when his clothes and slippers were found dumped far away from the pond?” a distraught Rajesh Jaiswal, the father of Rohit Jaiswal who was allegedly ‘sacrificed’ in a mosque of Gopalganj, Bihar, told Sirf News. This follows the news in a website that claimed Rohit’s parents had “disowned” his allegation.
The father remarked: “4 km dūr koi nahāne jāyegā nahin, aur nahāne jāyega to uskā kapdā jungle men’ kyon’ milegā? Uska chappal jungle men’ kyon’ milegā? Yeh to sāf zāhir hai. Dūdh ka dūdh, pāni ka pāni! (Nobody would go 4 km away to bathe. And if one does, why would his clothes be found in the jungle? Why would his slippers be found in the jungle? The matter is crystal clear)”
On being told that certain media houses are saying there is no mosque in Gopalganj, Jaiswal said, “They are building the mosque and it is for this reason that they thought it should be consecrated with the sacrifice of a Hindu,” adding this was a popular superstition among Muslims of Gopalganj.
The parents said that the mosque they had complained about was not in the same village where they lived but in the adjacent one. He said Mehraj Ansari, Abdul Ansari, Mustafa Ansari and Priyanshu Kushwaha — the boys he had named during a previous interview with Sirf News — had taken his son Rohit to the village where the mosque is coming up.
The parents wondered why, instead of questioning the boys who had taken their son away one by one, the police led them to the pond where Rohit had been found and tried to convince them he had drowned.
Rajesh was reminded that he had told Sirf News previously that the boys had confessed before him. He said, “But, sir, I do not have the evidence that they confessed.” When reminded that he had told this news portal that the confession had happened before five or six people, he doubted any of them would testify in his favour. “Nobody wants to invite trouble,” he said.
The parents added that the instant reaction of villagers on seeing Rohit’s body was one of revenge. “They said, ‘inko bhī mār ke phen’k do (kill them and dump them in the pond too)’,” Rajesh said, which scared him. He said he did not want revenge but justice.
Speaking to Sirf News, Rohit’s mother denied they have withdrawn the complaint. “We haven’t got justice. We have left behind our home and hearth and living in UP. Why should we withdraw our charge?” she asked.
On being asked whether they have contacted the new DGP Gupteshwar Pandey after SHO Ashwini Tiwari, who had abused and chased them away when they went to register their complaint, the parents of Rohit said they were not in a shape to afford frequent travels between Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. But Rajesh added that he did talk to the DGP once who reportedly told him, “āpko insāf milegā (you will get justice); CID jān’ch lagāye hain’ (the Criminal Investigation Department is investigating the case).”
But the parents are not too hopeful. “Ab dekhiye, sir, kyā hotā hai! (Let’s see what happens)” Rajesh said, defeatism writ large on his voice.
What came across in the entire conversation with the parents of Rohit Jaiswal is that they are too much in awe of the status of the police officers. They may not have told the officers everything that they shared with Sirf News. “ham ko jo-jo pūchhe, ham usī kā jawāb diye,” Rajesh said at least thrice in the course of our talks, repeating every time, “Badā afsar hai; ham kyā bolenge, sir! (He’s a big officer. What could I say?”