The Jharkhand Police, which formed a special investigation team to probe the death of a 24-year Muslim man who was beaten by a mob in Seraikela Kharsawan district on June 18, on Monday arrested four more people, the Hindustan Times reported. Tabrej Ansari died in a hospital on Saturday.
The four arrested have been identified as Kamal Mahto, Premchand Mahli, Bhim Mandal and Sonamu Pradhan. With this, five suspects have been taken into custody so far, including Pappu Mandal. “He [Pappu Mandal] has been arrested under murder and rioting charges,” the police had said, adding that he did not belong to any Hindutva organisation. The police are on the lookout for at least one more person, reported NDTV.
The state government has also suspended two policemen – the officers in charge of the local police station and police outpost. “Sub Inspector Chandramohan Oraon and Assistant Sub Inspector Bipin Bihari Singh have been suspended for not reporting the seriousness of the issue on 18 June to higher authorities properly and register a case of lynching the very same day,” said Seraikela-Kharsawan District Police chief Kartik S.
Ansari was caught in Dhaktidih village while allegedly attempting to steal a motorcycle. He was allegedly tied to a pole and beaten for 12 hours. Later, the police took him into custody. Ansari was produced in a court that sent him to judicial remand. According to the police, he fell ill on Saturday and was taken to a hospital, where he died.
Videos of the assault soon spread on social media. Ansari’s family approached the police with the videos after his death, based on which an FIR was filed. According to the FIR, the mob also forced him to chant “Jai Sri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman”.
Wrong to politicise lynchings, claims minister
Meanwhile, a Bharatiya Janata Party minister in Jharkhand on Monday said it was wrong to politicise mob lynchings, reported ANI. “The trend these days is to associate such incidents with the BJP, RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh], VHP [Vishwa Hindu Parishad] and Bajrang Dal,” said CP Singh. “It is a time of cut and paste – who fits what words where is difficult to say. The trend to politicise such incidents is wrong. The government is conducting an investigation.”
Singh’s comments came after Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi said there was a pattern in most lynchings. “First, a Muslim is murdered by cow lovers,” Owaisi tweeted. “Then the most ridiculous excuses begin: a ‘suspicion’ of beef possession, theft, smuggling & love jihad. So much for sabka vishwas when we can be killed over mere ‘suspicions’.”
Owaisi alleged that the BJP and RSS have increased a sense of hatred against Muslims. “They [BJP, RSS] have successfully created a mindset where Muslims are seen as terrorists, anti-nationals and cow slaughters,” he told ANI.