By Tuba Ehtesham
New Delhi: Eid is no more a festival of feasts, fun and frolic for the family the family of Tabrez Ansari, 24, who was lynched in Jharkhand’s Seraikela-Kharsawan district on June 17, 2019 and succumbed to his injuries five days after the incident. It comes every year to haunt Shaista Parween, 23, who not only lost her husband but also her first child because of stress and weak health. The dual loss had shattered the life of a newly married woman.
A welder by profession who was employed at Pune in Maharshtra, Ansari had returned home for his marriage — which was solemnised on April 26, 2019, just two months before he was killed.
While returning from his home town at Kadamdih (where he visited occasionally on festivals to meet his aunt), he along with his two friends were were stopped and surrounded by a mob at around 10 pm at Dhatkidih — a locality in Jamshedpur, East Singhbhum district.
While his accomplices somehow managed to flee, he was got caught. Accusing him of stealing a bike, the mob began assaulting him black and blue. He was tied to an electric pole and mercilessly beaten up for around eight hours. The murderous mob also made him to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Jai Hanuman’.
The act of cowardice was filmed and made viral on Internet. “Four years later, the same recording turned out to be a major piece of evidence against 10 of the 13 people who were convicted by a sessions court (in Seraikela-Kharsawan — a district the deceased belonged to) on June 27. Of the rest three, one passed away during the trial and two were acquitted on the ground of lack of evidence,” his counsel, Advocate Altaf Hussain, who was assisting the prosecution as an informant lawyer, told Muslim Mirror.
Soon after the assault began, an onlooker called the police — which reached the spot at around 7.30 am the next day. Ironically, the victim was arrested for alleged theft and then rushed to a primary healthcare centre he was administered just first-aid. After he was discharged, he was sent to jail.
After two days, Ansari complained of severe pain — including headache. He was taken to a government hospital from the prison, but the doctors there allegedly did not treat him well. He was even declared dead while he was alive. It was too late when he was rushed to another doctor.
The young man died on June 22.
Arguing that he died of heart attack, citing initial autopsy — which identified cardiac arrest as the cause of death, the police dropped murder charge in the chargesheet and made it a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Following an outrage and medical opinions, Section 302 of the IPC was restored by the investigators by filing a supplementary chargesheet.
The quantum of punishment for the convicts — Mahesh Mahali, Prem Chand Mahali, Atul Mahali, Vikram Mandal, Prakash Mandal, Chamu Nayak, Madan Nayak, Sunamo Pradhan, Kamal Mahato and Bhim Singh Munda — will be announced following an argument on July 5.
Additional Session Judge (1st) Amit Shekhar found them guilty under sections 295(B) (destroying and damaging a place of place of worship), 304 (1) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, being armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly) and 325/34 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt with common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
They were not convicted under Section 302 (murder) of the IPC perhaps because, said Advocate Hussain, the court might have concluded that the motive of the assault was not to kill him.
“It can be commented upon only when the detailed judgment is pronounced. We will seek life imprisonment of the convicts, if not death sentence, as the case falls in the rarest of the rare category,” he said.
It is a textbook case of the botched up probe where the police have tried their best to save their skin. Here’s how —
The police took good 9:30 hours to reach the crime scene despite the fact that they were informed as the assault began. It is needless to say that had they intervened in time, a precious life would have been saved.
Interestingly, referring to a Naxal ambush that had happened three days before the incident, killing five policemen, the cops defended their delayed arrival.
The Jharkhand police directorate in the wake of the attack had directed police personnel to avoid “loose” movement at night until a given piece of information is verified.
Instead of taking him to Sadar Hospital, Ansari was taken to a primary healthcare centre where the doctor let him go after first-aid.
Murder charge was dropped from the chargesheet based on the initial post-mortem report — which cited heart attack as the cause of death. However, a panel of doctors was later constituted to review the autopsy report. The experts debunked the initial medical report and concluded that the deceased had fracture in his skull and blood clots in his heart.
Between June 18 that year, grievously injured Ansari was sent to prison. Neither the doctor who attended him at the PHC, not the police made any effort to save the victim’s life.
The probe got momentum and raids were conducted to apprehend the accused only after the then Saraikela superintendent of police was transferred out, and he was replaced by S. Kartick.
After the new SP took over, he camped in the village and a series of raids were carried out. As a result, 11 accused were arrested. The video footage of the assault was seized and sent it to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory for analysis.
It was he who initiated disciplinary action taken against the erring police officials, including the officer in charge of the Seraikela police station.
The medical officer who attended Ansari was held responsible for negligence in his treatment.
‘Won’t rest till the killers are hanged’
Meanwhile, Ansari’s widow Parveen demands nothing less than death sentence for the killers of her husband.
“I won’t till they are hanged. They took away my life; they don’t deserve to live. I want to see them suffer like I have been suffering over the past four years,” she told MM over phone.
She said even if, for arguments sake, he (Ansari) had committed some crime, they could have caught and handed him over to the police.
“But they acted like a judge, jury and executioner. He was alone. He begged for live, but the assaulters did not listen to him. He was unable to defend himself as he was tied to a pole. They kept beating him for hours as if he was not a human being,” she recalled, with her voice choking.
Perween was married to Ansari for just two months before he died. “Let them have the same fear on their faces that I saw on my husband’s face when I met him in jail,” she said in rage.