Eight days after a meat trader was lynched in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh district, police announced the arrest of a man who followed the victim on the day of the killing, kept the key accused informed about his movement and joined in the assault that led to the death of Alimuddin Ansari.
Police said that Raj Kumar, suspected to be a “newly recruited” member of the local gau raksha samiti, followed Ansari from the time he left a market 15 km from Ramgarh town on June 29. Kumar was detained on Wednesday and sent to judicial custody on Thursday, said police.
Police also said that lab tests on samples of meat recovered from Ansari’s Maruti van after the assault have confirmed that it was beef. They said the group that attacked Ansari had earlier complained that he had “ferried prohibited meat many times”.
Eleven people have so far been arrested in the case, including the BJP’s district media in-charge and the main accused, Deepak Mishra and Chhotu Verma, both linked to the local gau raksha samiti.
According to police, Kumar is a resident of Chitarpur under the Rajrappa police station area in Ramgarh. “The main accused gave him the number of Ansari’s van and asked him to follow the vehicle. Call records reveal that Mishra and Verma were in touch with Kumar all along,” said Ramgarh SP Kishore Kaushal.
“According to call records, Kumar was in touch with Mishra and Verma from around 7.30 am on June 29. For almost two hours, he followed them, informing the other two about his location. The others then gathered at a spot near Bazar Tand, where they intercepted Ansari at around 9.30 am and started beating him,” said DySP V K Chowdhary.
According to sources, Mishra claimed during questioning that he had hit Ansari only twice, and that a mob that gathered there took over. “The group used a police baton to hit Ansari, which led to serious injuries,” said a local officer, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The officer said that the accused had tried to get Ansari arrested earlier on charges of transporting beef but did not succeed.
“A few days before Eid, Verma and Mishra had raised this issue during a peace committee meeting at the Ramgarh police station. They alleged that people were ferrying beef across the city and police were not able to stop them. They were assured that action would be taken. A few days before the lynching, two persons were arrested for cattle smuggling after a tip-off from this group. But on the day they waylaid Ansari, they did not inform police,” said the officer.
“Ansari was aware of these complaints but continued to buy prohibited meat and sell it in different areas. He had a criminal record,” said the officer.