New Delhi: Twenty-two-year-old Tabrez Ansari, who was attacked by a mob who reportedly suspected that he was a thief on June 18, passed away on Saturday while in judicial custody. In a video of the attack, which took place in Dhatkidih village of Jharkhand’s Seraikela Kharsawan district, the mob can be heard forcing Ansari to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman”. He can be seen pleading with the mob to stop.
According to the Indian Express, Ansari, who had been taken into judicial custody for theft, said he was not feeling well on Saturday morning. He was taken to a hospital, where he was declared brought dead. His family members have alleged he died because of being “mercilessly beaten” for hours. The doctors at the hospital have said that the cause of death will be known only after the post-mortem results come in, and Ansari may have died of a “heart attack or blockage”.
When the police found Ansari on June 18 morning, he had been beaten and tied to a tree. He reportedly admitted to robbing a house with two other men, who had managed to escape. The man whose house Ansari and two others were reportedly robbing on Monday night – Kamal Mahto – filed a police complaint.
The police’s report on the incident says that villagers found a motorcycle without a registration number, wallets and a phone later identified as stolen with Ansari. It also says that Ansari was handed over to them by the villagers – but makes no mention of the fact that he had been attacked, Indian Express reported.
The police was forced to take cognisance of the violence when Ansari’s wife, Shaista Parveen, filed a complaint on Saturday against ten accused persons. The main accused, Pappu Mandal, has been arrested, Hindustan Times reported. Mandal and others have been charged with IPC Sections including 302 (murder) and 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religions or religious beliefs).
“Tabrez Ansari was caught red-handed by the villagers while stealing motor bike. He was beaten up. Several stolen materials were also recovered from his house. He was sent to jail on June 18 after primary treatment and was shifted to Seraikela Sadar Hospital last morning. He died during treatment,” Seraikela-Kharsawan SP Kartik S. told HT.
Ansari was booked under IPC Sections 457 (lurking house-trespass or housebreak by night), 380 (theft), 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) and others.
“We have already arrested the main accused and raids are on to nab the other accused. We will not spare anyone found guilty. We are also verifying allegations that he was forced to make some chants,” he continued.
Ansari’s family has insisted that he had no criminal record, and that he was attacked because of his religion. “Let us assume he was caught for theft, but tying him up and beating him for hours and then asking him to chant Jai Shri Ram is shocking,” Alam said. “His mistake was that he was a Muslim, otherwise he would have been alive,” his uncle Maqsood Alam told Indian Express.
The family has also raised questions on the police’s role. “My elder brother went to see him at the Saraikela police station. But the officers threatened and shooed them away with lathis, saying ‘You have come to talk for the thief’. They threatened to put him in jail as well. We were not allowed to meet him,” one of Ansari’s relatives told ANI.