A local BJP leader was among two people arrested by the Jharkhand Police on Saturday for the June 29 lynching of meat trader Alimuddin Ansari in Ramgarh. On Saturday, police arrested Nityanand Mahato of the BJP media cell in Ramgarh, and Chhotu Rana, the man seen hitting Ansari in a widely circulated video of the incident and said to be a member of the Gau Raksha Samiti. Police said Mahato claimed he had gone to the spot only after the administration reached there, “just to find out what happened”.
While district BJP president Shiv Shankar Banerjee could not be contacted despite several attempts, Varun Singh, who holds the post of media cell in-charge along with Mahato, said, “Mahato is my colleague. His house is in the same area, Bazar Tand, where the incident occurred. In the video, he is seen beside the DSP. He reached there after the incident, after officials had arrived. However, the police went ahead and arrested him in haste.”
Soon after the day’s arrests, the district BJP unit held a press conference, in which district BJP chief Banerjee, while condemning the lynching incident, urged the administration not to “harass innocent people”. On Friday, Ansari succumbed to his injuries after being assaulted by at least 10 men who intercepted his van in Ramgarh and accused him of carrying cattle meat. Police had later arrested Santosh Singh, also reportedly of the Samiti, and booked him for murder. Another person, though not named in the FIR, has also been detained for questioning.