A young man, allegedly beaten and tortured in police custody after being arrested for sharing an objectionable comment on WhatsApp on October 3, succumbed to his injuries at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in the city here on October 9. The incident was reported under Narayanpura police station area of Jharkhand’s Jamtara district on October 3. The police said that the Officer-in-Charge of Narayanpura police station has been suspended and an FIR of murder and outraging the modesty of a woman was registered against him. A joint inquiry by the SDO and the SDPO has been ordered by the district administration.
Further, on directions from Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das, a compensation of Rs 2 lakh has been paid to the family members of the victim. The district administration has also extended help by way of social security scheme, giving the family another Rs 30,000; besides, an Indira Awas being given.
The officials maintained that, while an inquiry was on and prima facie lapses on the part of the Officer-in-charge were evident, medical records proved that the youngster was suffering from encephalitis when he was arrested.
According to the police, a WhatsApp message allegedly containing some objectionable comments regarding cow meat was shared in Dighari village of Narayanpura in Jamtara on October 2.
The police detained a few persons as suspects. Finally, they were let off and one Minhaj Ansari, aged around 22, son of Umar Sheikh, a resident of Dighari village was arrested on October 3 for allegedly sharing the comment.
On October 5, Ansari’s parents came to know that their son has been shifted to Dhanbad for better treatment after allegedly sustaining injuries while being in police custody.
They reached the police station, along with other villagers. This led to a violent scuffle at the police station between Ansari’s parents and the officer-in-charge. They also gave a written complaint against Harish Pathak (officer-in-charge) following which a case of attempt to murder and outraging the modesty of a woman was registered. The officer was suspended immediately. Now, following his death, the case has been converted into that of murder, said Jamtara Deputy Commissioner Ramesh Kumar Dubey.
The parents subsequently reached Dhanbad, from where he was shifted to RIMS on October 7. Ansari succumbed to his injuries on October 9.
Heavy force had to be deployed in the village to maintain calm. The administration acted swiftly and gave the compensation to the family.
The situation is peaceful now. While an inquiry is on, the medical reports indicate that Ansari was suffering from encephalitis. It appears that the officer-in-charge did not check on this. However, there was no instance of the family members not being informed about Ansari’s condition. We took action because the message, having some comments about cow flesh, had the potential to disturb communal peace, even as Dussehra and Moharram were in the offing. We are keeping a strict eye on it, said Jamtara SP Manoj Kumar Singh. Efforts to contact RIMS officials did not yield result.