Home Features Interviews Mattin Karani’s family on his murder by Karnataka Police
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Mattin Karani’s family on his murder by Karnataka Police

Background:

Mattin Karani’s father and brother talk about Mattin Karani and the manner in which his murder was buried by the police. Mattin Karani, a resident of Kandlur, Shimoga District was murdered by Police officials led by sub-inspector B.S. Satish Kumar, for allegedly transporting cattle in April 2009. Mattin was also an active social worker and had been threatened on several instances by SI Satish, who himself held close ties with Bajrang Dal workers even to the extent of SI Satish openly threatening to kill him. When Mattins father tried filing a complaint about his son’s murder, the police maintained that Mattin Karim himself jumped into the river, died as a result, and refused to file an FIR. SI Satish was suspended for a few months, eventually was reinstated and transferred to another District. 9 years down the line, Mattin’s murderers roam scot free, with complete impunity.

DalitCamera: What is your name?  

Karani Ameer Saheb: My name is Karani Ameer Saheb and I am Mattin Karani’s father.

DC: Please do tell us what actually happened that night, we got to hear such a tragic news about Mattin.

Karani Ameer Saheb:

He was going in his vehicle. He was stopped by two police. First, he escaped and came running back, then the two boys who were with him also came back leaving the vehicle parked in the hot sun.

The police then caught Mattin, after catching they beat him and threw him in the water.

DC: Please tell us your name and relationship to Mattin.

Shahid: My name is Shahid, I am Mattin’s brother.

DC: Even before this incident of Mittin’s murder by the police, we have heard that the behaviour of the police with Mattin was not proper. So, what exactly had happened?

Shahid: The behaviour of the police was very bad regarding Mattin. He used to get lot of threats from them. They used to say “If ever we catch you we will shoot you”.

One time he had gone in the van to get animals (from the animal market), the public in the market pelted stones at him and those who were with him. We had to admit him and others in the hospital. After admitting them in the hospital we filed a case against those who had pelted stones. The sub-inspector, constable and others came and  tried to close the case. The sub-inspector threw us out of the station and told me that “if you take his name (the culprit’s) then I will shoot you, shoot you right here”. He threatened us a lot.

It was BJP government in Karnataka, so the case was let to progress in the court.

DC: Why were the police threatening Mattin like this?

S: Mattin was involved in social work and so the police had an eye on him and were harassing him a lot. He used to organise many programs and was very prominent. Since then, the Bajrang Dal have had an eye on him. They used to target him. The Popular Front of India used to support Mattin a lot.

One day, Mattin went to buy animals along with three others. And on his way back when he got down of the vehicle for a break in the afternoon near the river few people attacked them from behind. The three men along with Mattin ran away. However, the keys of the vehicle were still in it, hence, Mattin returned to the vehicle to fetch them. While he was getting the keys the police arrived at the scene. Mattin hid himself behind a boat. And, nobody knows what happened next. There was a guy sitting nearby, the police asked him “Where is Mattin?”. He replied that he did not know.

Later it was the police and few other people who carried Martin’s body out of the river and got him to the shore. I do not know what has happened. I think he was beaten and gagged before his body was thrown in the water. It is not possible that he drowned just like that, he was a very good swimmer. He could swim across the river very easily. Then they claimed that he was still alive and took him away (to the hospital), and then they gave a statement saying that he was alive when he was taken to hospital and he breathed his last in the hospital. I know, he was dead here itself.

Later, we did a lot of protests to have the case filed. Then, a local person named Ameer Pasha gave a reverse statement saying that Mattin was still alive when he was fetched from the river. This is wrong. There were 3-4 others who were also there, they said he was not alive when his body was removed from the river. In the fear that he might also be attacked and killed, Ameer Pasha started saying that Mattin was alive. Then he was taken away in a jeep.

We did a lot of protests, filed FIR, after all that the lawyer Naushad Kasim was also murdered.

DC: So, the lawyer who was fighting Mattin’s murder was also murdered. After that it seems that the policemen were suspended, is it not, you tried in the court?

S: We filed the FIR, fought the case in the court, however, no lawyer supported us. It was BJP government in Karnataka, so the case was let to progress in the court. There was a lot of pressure from the government and politicians. The sub-inspector was part of the RSS. His whole family was RSS.

DC: What is the name of the sub-inspector?

S: The sub-inspector was B.S.Satish.

DC: So, he is the one who had been threatening Mattin and later one day murdered him. And did not even let the case to be registered also. Was such incidents happening a lot in this area around that time?

S: Yes, a lot of such threats and incidents from the sub-inspector were happening here around that time as BJP was in power. A lot of muslim youth were targeted by him.

Karani Ameer Saheb, father of Mattin Karani, a resident of Kandlur village and Shahid Karani, brother of Mattin Karani.

Video: Greeshma Aruna Rai, Interview: Sadath Hussain, Transcription: Archana Bidargaddi, Video Date: 24 Jun, 2017