With Sitamarhi police in Bihar failing to register a separate FIR even three weeks after the murder of an 82-year-old man in what is seen as a communal killing, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the state’s principal opposition party, on Saturday demanded a separate FIR to be filed after identifying the victim.
RJD national vice-president Shivanand Tewary told The Sunday Express, “Things were hushed up after Internet was suspended for four days (in the district), and Sitamarhi police kept denying whatever visual images came out subsequently. But now that the government has paid Rs 5 lakh compensation to the victim’s family, it means they have officially identified the victim.”
The police, he said, should “immediately lodge a separate FIR, clearly naming Zainul Ansari”, the victim.
Former MP Ali Anwar of Loktantrik Janata Dal, the new party he founded along with Sharad Yadav and other former JD(U) leaders questioned the “secular credentials” of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and said the case serves a “chilling warning of simmering communal troubles” in Bihar in the run-up to General Election next year.
Anwar, who also leads the All-India Pasmanda Muslim Mehaz, said they will meet victim Ansari’s family.
Ansari, who lived in Bhodaha, under Riga police station of Sitamarhi, was found murdered in Sitamarhi town on October 20, a day after Dussehra. Most parts charred, the body was found about an hour after a communal mob crossed the route.
Although the police said Ansari could have killed by the mob, no separate FIR was filed, nor was anyone identified or arrested for the killing. The FIR only mentioned that an “unidentified body was found”, and IPC Section 302 (murder) was added against unknown accused.
The victim’s family received confirmation about the killing four days later, with the district administration asking them to conduct the burial in Muzaffarpur in order to avoid any communal backlash.
On Saturday, RJD’s Tewary said postmortem report must mention Ansari’s name and age, as per standard procedure, otherwise there will be no case.
Calling it a “botched-up” probe, Tewary asked, “What kind of policing is this? They are not able to identify any single accused from several video footage and still photographs now available?”
Alluding to BJP’s presence in the government, former MP Ali Anwar said, “Such communal violence is bound to occur from the kind of company Nitish Kumar has returned to.”
At Bhodaha, Ansari’s younger son, Mohammed Asharaf, confirmed that the family has received Rs 5 lakh compensation from Sitamarhi administration. “The DM gave a cheque in the name of my elder brother on November 1. We approached police on Saturday to make corrections in the postmortem report and were assured it will be done after seeking opinion of the doctors who had conducted the autopsy.”
Maintaining that they have to get back to work outside the state, and thus cannot on their own put up a long fight for justice, Ashraf stressed, “We want police to identify killers of my father.”