Mr. Ravi Kiran Jain
National President, PUCL
Dr. V. Suresh
National General Secretary, PUCL
PUCL strongly condemns the actions of the Jharkhand police in dropping murder charges u/s 302 IPC from the charge sheet of the case related to the brutal lynching murder of Tabrez Ansari and replacing it with a much more diluted charge u/s 304 IPC, (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).
PUCL also strongly deprecates the justification offered by the SP of the Saraikela –Kharsawan District, Jharkhand, that they decided to drop murder charges because Tabrez did not die on the spot, which according to him indicated that the intention of the mob was not to kill Tabrez, and because the post mortem report stated that Tabrez died 4 days after the incident due to `cardiac arrest and head injury’, as not just a motivated interpretation meant to screen cold blooded killing by right wing Hindutva fanatics, but also an attempt to tamper with the criminal case with the intention to let the accused escape conviction for what is a cold blooded lynching murder, fully video taped by the assailants. What makes the police action suspect and suspicious is the fact that Jharkhand will soon have state elections and it is not in the interest of the ruling BJP government if the criminal prosecution of TabrezAnsari’s killers is pursued as a murder case.
To recall the facts, on 17th June 2019, in Dhatkidih village, Kharsawan block, Saraikela Kharsawan district, Jharkhand, Tabrez Ansari and two fourteen year old boys -Md Irfan and Numer Ali- were returning from Jamshedpur when they were surrounded by a mob in Dhaktidih village and beaten up brutally. While Irfan and Numer escaped, Tabrez was caught by residents of the village, tied to a pole, forced to chant ‚Jai Shri Ram‛ and ‚Jai Hanuman‛ and barbarically assaulted. The police were informed but failed to come torescue him from the mob, who beat him continuously for over six hours.
Despite the brutality and injuries inflicted on him, the police that arrived on the spot, arrested Tabrez and took him to Saraikela police station where he was kept for days without any medical assistance. He finally died on 22 June, due to the injuries inflicted on him. The
religious motivations behind this crime are laid bare in the gruesome videos that was taken by the assailants which have been widely circulated on social media.
The family members of Tabrez who visited him while he was in the Saraikela police station found him severely injured and bleeding, but when they requested the police officials to take him to the hospital they were refused. The threats of violence were made by the officials and refusal to provide timely medical assistance indicated both their complicity in the murder and their intention to screen the real offenders to escape criminal liability for their murderous action. Tragically, Tabrez was finally taken to the Saraikela Sadar Hospital only after his condition worsened on 22 June, 5 days after the assault.
The young, 22-year old Tabrez Ansari’s family lived in Kadamdiha village of Kharsawan block. Both his parents had passed away and he lived with his paternal uncles and their families. Tabrez worked as a welder in Pune, and would visit his home once in a while. He got married a month and a half before the incident on 17th June, 2019, and was scheduled to return to Pune the day after the incident took place, with his newly wedded wife.
There has clearly been gross and wilful culpable inaction on the part of the police officials of PS Seraikela that led to the death of Tabrez. Worse, there has been an attempt by the police to change the narrative by attributing the cause of death to heart attack or consumption of poison thereby diluting the case.
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