#NewDelhi: What happened in Gali no. 5?

23 year-old Sahil was beaten to death in Delhi’s Maujpur on August 30. While friends and family point to a communal angle, the police and others deny their claims

ByAnusuya Som
#NewDelhi: What happened in Gali no. 5?
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On August 30, a 23-year-old boy Sahil Singh was allegedly beaten to death by a mob in Gali No.5, Vijay Park in Delhi’s Maujpur. Sahil, along with his friend Abhishek Kumar entered into a scuffle with Sanjay Chandraban, a man in his early forties and his minor son, Ayush. Both live in the same lane. Sahil’s family and friends claim there was a communal cause behind Sahil’s murder.

While an India Today report stated, “A 23-year-old man in Delhi was lynched for the mere act of entering the Brahmin lane”, a report by The Quint read, “Delhi boy murdered: Family insists its communal, friends unsure.”

Newslaundry decided to visit the spot where the incident took place to find out more.

There seem to be three different versions of Sahil’s death:

The first version is Sahil’s mother Sangeeta Singh’s who was not present during the incident. She claims that since the name ‘Sahil’ is used in both Hindus and Muslims, Chandraban mistook him to be a Muslim and thrashed him to death.

 The second version of Sahil’s death is based on Sahil’s friend Abhishek Kumar’s claims. He says when they went to Gali.No 5 to resolve an ongoing tiff between his younger brother and Chandraban, Chandraban threatened them saying the lane belongs to Pandits. Being Rajputs, Abhishek and Sahil were prohibited from entering it. However, both Abhishek and Gautam (another friend) claimed that the version given by Sahil’s mother is true.

The third version, according to residents of Gali no. 5 is that the reason behind the incident was not communal. Residents claim Chandraban was inebriated and lost his temper during the fight. They also showed this Newlaundry correspondent different houses in the lane that belonged to members of both Muslim and non-Pandit communities.

While police have arrested Sanjay Chandraban and his son, Sahil’s family and friends claim there were around six to seven men involved in the murder.

According to the police, Sahil was beaten to death by two people, Sanjay Chandraban and his son Ayush, over a scuffle about Sahil’s friend Abhishek’s younger brother’s scooter. The SHO, Vivek Tiwari said, “The case is still under investigation, and right now we have arrested Chandraban and Ayush who is a minor under section 302/ 34 of IPC (punishment for murder)”. Tiwari also denied the case having any communal angle and said if they find more men involved in the murder, they will arrest all of them.

Sahil’s friends however, were not sure whether there was a religious cause behind Sahil’s death. But now it seems they have begun to believe in the rhetoric. Abhishek Kumar says, “When we (Sahil and him) went to the spot where the fight was taking place between a drunk Chandraban and my brother Yogesh, Chandraban kept saying that the lane belonged to Pandits. 

According to Abhishek and Gautam (another one of Sahil’s friends) who were present during the incident, it all began on the night of August 30, 2019. Abhishek had invited Sahil and few other friends to his birthday party. While they were having dinner, a boy came informed them that Yogesh, Abhishek’s younger brother, had gotten into a quarrel with few men in Gali No. 5 of Vijay Park, Maujpur. Abhishek and Sahil left their food and went to the spot to resolve the matter. Abhishek clarifies, “Chadraban was stinking of alcohol and was accusing my brother of entering the lane (Gali no 5) which belongs to Pandits only”. Chandraban had confiscated Yogesh’s scooter keys. He was refusing to return it and that is what led to the fight. Abhishek says, “When Chandraban said the lane belongs to Pandits, we even apologised for entering the lane and assured him that we will not come back again. But he was drunk.” Gautam, the other friend who came to the scene later retorted saying it was not true that the lane belongs only to pandits or any other particular community, people from all community lived in Gali No.5. Gautam says, “Chandraban was drunk and talking rubbish”.

Abhishek, however, said, “When we noticed the fight was getting more intense, we tried to leave. Yogesh and I managed to escape but Sahil could not. They started thrashing Sahil with rods. Maybe Chandraban mistook him as a Muslim boy as Sahil is also a Muslim name” Abhishek later added, “The day after the incident, I  heard Chandraban saying he beat Sahil because he thought he was a Muslim”

Sahil was the only earning member of his family. He had a younger brother Aditya(13) and a younger sister Anjali (18). His mother Sangeeta Singh laments, “My daughter has just given her class 12 board exams and we were thinking about  her higher education. But now that Sahil is gone, it will not be possible anymore”. She added that Sahil’s father is a heart patient and a rod is inserted in his leg. Sahil quit studying after school and began working at a very young age. She says, “Sahil’s demise has killed the whole family”. 

After the scuffle, Sahil came home and lay on his mother’s lap. Sangeeta says he was breathless and he also urinated at the time. Then they took him to GTB Hospital where the doctor declared him dead.

She says though she was not present during the incident, she heard Chardaban mistook Sahil as a Muslim boy and killed him. “It is horrible. Had Sahil been a Muslim boy, would that justify his killing? Aren’t people who belong to the Muslim community human beings?” she adds.

“Now I’m scared about my daughter and son. People like Chandrban are crazy, they can do anything after drinking alcohol. I demand the police to provide full protection to my family especially to my kids,” demands Sangeeta.

Sangeeta and her husband Sunil Singh blame the police for not conducting the investigation properly. The couple say the police is trying to protect Ayush, the minor who is also accused in the case. Sahil’s friends and family have repetitively said there are more people involved in Sahil’s murder. The police however, have arrested only two so far. 

Sangeeta and Abhishek, both blame the police for allegedly accepting a bribe from other men who were involved and setting them free.

Bhola Sharma and Amit Sharma who are the residents of Gali No.5, Vijay Park, Maujpur, have a different version of the incident. Amit says though it is true that Chandraban was drunk, the fight only escalated when Sahil and his friends began using foul language. According to Amit Sharma, Yogesh was driving his scooter at a high speed due to which Chandraban confiscated his keys. This led to an argument between Yogesh and Chandraban and Chandraban hit the boy. When Sahil and Abhishek came to the spot, they too began abusing Chandraban and Ayush. Then, all of them took out belts and rods and started hitting each other. Unfortunately, Sahil was hit in vulnerable areas that ultimately led to his death.

Amit adds that the fight had nothing to do with religion and showed this reporter several houses in the lane where the Muslim families reside.

Amidst all this, Sahil’s family has been deprived of the only earning member. Sangeeta says she will shift her younger son Aditya to a government school but she still does not know how she will manage money for her daughter’s higher education.


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