Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday called the mob attack on 24-year-old Tabrej Ansari in Jharkhand as a “blot on humanity”. This came hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacked the Opposition in Parliament and reminded Congress about the “dark days” of the Emergency, saying it’s a “blot on the democracy” that will never fade.
“The brutal lynching of this young man by a mob in Jharkhand is a blot on humanity,” Gandhi said in a tweet. “The cruelty of the police who held this dying boy in custody for 4 days is shocking as is the silence of powerful voices in the BJP ruled Central & State Govts [governments]”.
Ansari was caught in Dhaktidih village in Seraikela-Kharsawan district while allegedly attempting to steal a motorcycle on June 18. He was reportedly tied to a pole and beaten for 12 hours by a mob. The police took Ansari 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. The FIR said that the mob had also forced Ansari to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman”.
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. Eleven people were arrested in connection with the case and the Special Investigation Team has been asked to submit its report to the home secretary and the chief secretary by Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said slogans like “Jai Shri Ram” can be chanted by embracing people and not by throttling them. He called the attack on Ansari “heinous”, and said such destructive narrative cannot dominate the development agenda.
On Monday, however, Bharatiya Janata Party minister CP Singh said it was wrong to politicise mob lynchings. “It is a time of cut and paste – who fits what words where is difficult to say,” he had said. “The trend to politicise such incidents is wrong. The government is conducting an investigation.”
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had said that Jharkhand had become a lynching factory where Muslims and Dalits were being attacked or lynched regularly. Addressing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said that the Congress was with him in the fight for “Sabka saath sabka vikas”, but it was nowhere to be seen.
Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi had also said there was a pattern in most lynchings. He 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 had said.