Lawyer files protest petition to add section
Charges of murder have been dropped from the charge-sheet filed by the police against the killing of the 24 year old Muslim youth from Saraikela-Kharaswan in Jharkhand, Tabrez Ansari, as per a report published by The Quint. Unhappy with the development, Tabrez’s lawyer Altaf Hussain has filed a protest petition in the court on August 31 for the section to be added.
The brutal mob lynching of Tabrez Ansari, a 24 year old Muslim youth, a welder by profession, in June, 2019 in Jharkhand’s Saraikela-Kharaswan had evoked widespread outrage from across the country. Tabrez had come home in Jharkhand to celebrate Eid. The video of the incident had showed that when the mob asked his name and he replied, "Sonu", they abused him and demanded to know his actual name. Terrified, he replied saying "Tabrez". Immediately, the mob began chanting “Jai Sri Ram”, pounced on him, and beat him up, brutally. They tried to force him to chant “Jai Sri Ram”. Later, they left him, badly injured. As per his family, he had died long before he was brought to the hospital.
Eleven people were arrested and two police officers suspended following the incident. They have been identified as Prakash Mandal alias Pappu Mandal, Kamal Mahato, Sunamo Pradhan, Premchand Mahali, Sumant Mahato, Madan Nayak, Chamu Nayak, Mahesh Mahali, Kushal Mahali, Satyanarayan Nayak and Bhim Sen Mandal.
The Quint team, which claimed to have seen the report said that “the accused have been charged under Section 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 325 (causing grievous hurt), 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 295A ( deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings).”
Altaf asks, “We are hearing reports that Tabrez died of a sudden cardiac arrest. He however had a big wound on his head, his skull had been cracked due to the beating. How can they then say that the cause of death is just cardiac arrest?"
As per the Investigation Officer (IO) on the case, R Narayan, who reportedly said that the cause of death was sudden cardiac arrest, "We have sought double opinion [opinion from two doctors] who have confirmed this”.
"A lot of deliberation has happened. Not ever in my career have I ever seen cardiac arrest to be the cause of death in such a case. We have to go by the post-mortem report," he said while defending the police’s call to remove charges.
Earlier, a three member team headed by Saraikela-Kharwan Deputy Commissioner Anjaneyullu Dodde was set up to investigate Tabrez’s death. The team held police and doctor accountable for several lapses. Dodde had said, "While the police reached late, the doctors did not diagnose skull injury correctly," on the findings of the report that came out on 12 July.
Narayan had responded to this by saying, "We took him to Sadar hospital in Saraikela, he was not critical and no one had imagined at all that he would die. Yes, his CT scan didn't happen, but we are not Delhi where such facilities are readily available everywhere. Also he was not vomiting or anything either."
Narayan says he’s relying on the post-mortem and that “now since the cause of death is cardiac arrest, of course we cannot charge them under murder.”
However, Altaf alleged, “They are trying to protect the accused”. He said that considering that the head injury was mentioned in the post-mortem report the charge should and could have been added by the police. "We could have then argued on arguments of charge in court. If the judge does not accept our protest petition to include the charge of murder, we will approach the high court. The accused in the case have to be tried for murder," he says.
Shahista, Tabrez’s widow who could only spend two months before her life went haywire, has had much to lose in all this. Two days after Tabrez was killed, Shahista came to know that she was pregnant. However, she lost her child few weeks later because of the stress and trauma. She has been sent to her parents’ home. Today, Shahista only wants justice for her husband.