“Discrepancies in the police’s version”, “lapses by the doctors” and jail doctor’s recording of injuries “allegedly of mob violence” are some of the key findings in a report by the three-member inquiry panel, constituted by the Saraikela-Kharsawan district administration in Jharkhand, to look into the lapses and response into the death of Tabrez Ansari.
Ansari, a welder by profession, was beaten up by a mob in Dhatkidih village of Saraikela-Kharsawan on June 18, after he was caught stealing. The mob had tied him to a pole and thrashed him. A video of the incident shows that the mob allegedly forced him to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman”. Ansari died four days later of a head injury.
Sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Saraikela Basharat Qayyum , then Civil Surgeon A N Dey, and SDPO (headquarter) Chandan Kumar were three members of the panel. Talking to The Sunday Express, SDM Qayyum said that there were “lapses” by the doctors in initially detecting the head injury. “Sub-arachnoid haemorrhage could be a possible cause of death and cannot be ruled out. Injuries were not detected initially and no investigations were ordered. Not even blood pressure and pulse were recorded. This was the initial lapse,” he said.
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When asked how did the doctors advise Ansari to be fit for travel and allowed him to be taken to the jail, the SDM said, “This is also a lapse.”
The Indian Express had first reported on the internal injuries sustained by Ansari where the post-mortem board members had expressed that the injuries were the “possible” cause of death. The actual cause of death will be known after the viscera report.
The findings also state that the jail administration knew that Ansari was beaten up by a mob and had injuries by a blunt object. SDM Qayyum said, “The jail doctor in the ‘proforma for health screening of prisoner on admission to jail’ mentioned: ‘Allegedly assaulted by a mob with hard blunt object’.”
This assumes significance as the police had maintained earlier that they “never knew” of the mob violence until the purported video went viral on June 22. The three initial court documents the initial theft complaint, subsequent FIR, and Ansari’s confession statement — did not mention anything of the assault. Asked if the police knew about it, the SDM said that he will not be able to comment.
The SDM said that the police’s response to the incident could have been better. When asked whether Tabrez was forced to chant as seen in the video, the SDM said, “That is a matter of investigation which the SIT is looking into.”