The Jharkhand Police recorded a “confession statement” of a Muslim man who was beaten by a mob in Seraikela Kharsawan district on June 18 but did not mention the assault in the statement, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday.
Tabrej Ansari was caught in Dhaktidih village while allegedly attempting to steal a motorcycle. He was reportedly tied to a pole and beaten for 12 hours by a mob. The police took the 24-year-old into custody and produced him in a court that sent him to judicial remand. According to the police, Ansari fell ill on June 22 and was taken to a hospital, where he died. According to the FIR, the mob had forced him to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman”.
“We had registered a case against the villagers when we were informed of the beating,” said Superintendent of Police Karthik S. “We arrested one accused initially, and later 10 others. We found that the officer in charge of Kharsawan police station and an ASI [assistant sub-inspector] did not handle the matter with sensitivity. They did not apprise senior officers of the situation.”
Among the 11 arrested is a person identified as Kamal Mahto, who had filed a complaint against Ansari for allegedly stealing a motorcycle.
Ansari’s family demanded to know why the assault was not mentioned in the “confession statement”, which was submitted to the chief judicial magistrate. “There is also a possibility that Tabrej [Ansari] did not say anything to the police on the beating during his confession,” Karthik S said. According to the officer, two police personnel have been suspended and an officer of the rank deputy superintendent of police is heading a Special Investigation Team inquiring the matter. The Special Investigation Team has been asked to submit its report to the home secretary and the chief secretary by Wednesday, NDTV reported.
Ansari’s uncle Maqsood Alam said he had met his nephew in the police station and found him “very weak and barely able to talk”. “I cannot believe that he never said anything to police about the beating,” Alam told The Indian Express. “The police deliberately left it out. Were the police blind that they did not see that he was badly beaten? Why could the doctors not see his pain?”
Ansari’s family alleged that the police did not arrange for his treatment despite appeals and that he had died long before he was taken to a hospital, according to NDTV. The family has demanded action against the police and the doctors at the hospital, who are yet to be questioned.
A case was registered under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, including murder, only four days after the attack. Inspector General (Operations) Ashish Batra said on Monday that he cannot comment on the video of the assault. “It is seen that doctored videos are circulated on social media to hurt religious sentiments,” Batra added.