Four more persons were arrested and two police officers suspended on Monday in connection with the death of 22-year-old Tabrez Ansari, who was thrashed by a mob in Jharkhand for alleged theft and forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram”, police said. On Sunday, police had arrested one person in connection with the case.
Confirming the arrests, Saraikela-Kharsawa Superintendent of Police Karthik S said, “The officer-in-charge of Kharsawan Police Station and one assistant sub-inspector have been suspended for not understanding the gravity of the matter. We have also arrested five villagers in connection with the same.”
Following Ansari’s death, police had lodged a case against the villagers under IPC Sections 302 (murder) and 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religions or religious beliefs), among others.
On June 18, Ansari was tied to an electricity pole, thrashed and forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram… Jai Hanuman” for allegedly committing a theft. A video of the incident, which took place in Dhatkidih village of Seraikela Kharsawan district, shows Ansari pleading with the mob to stop the assault.
On Saturday morning, Ansari, who was in judicial custody for theft, complained of ill-health and was rushed to Sadar Hospital and then to Tata Main Hospital, Jamshedpur, where he was declared dead on arrival.
Sadar Hospital Civil Surgeon A N Dey said Ansari could have died of a “heart attack or blockage”, but added that the exact cause would be ascertained after post-mortem. Ansari’s family members alleged he died because he was “mercilessly beaten” for four hours.
Police reached the spot where Ansari was tied up around 6 am, SP Karthik had earlier said. Ansari was then taken to a police post. According to court documents, his statement was recorded at 9.30 am where he admitted that he had committed the theft with two other men. Thereafter, he was produced in court and remanded in judicial custody.
Police said a case was registered against Ansari under IPC Sections 457 (lurking house-trespass or housebreak by night), 380 (theft), 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) and others.
Ansari’s uncle Maqsood Alam, however, said his nephew did not have any criminal record. “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.”