Staff members and students of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing shock and concern over Jharkhand Police’s handling of the Tabrez Ansari lynching case, The Hindu reported on Tuesday. The signatories called urged Modi to direct the state government to launch a fresh inquiry into the case.

“We urge you to act swiftly and decisively by directing the State government to institute a fresh probe,” the email to the prime minister said. “It is the constitutional duty of the State to protect the life and liberty of all citizens.” One of the professors of the institute had shared the email among students on September 12, and said that it was the duty of the academic community to “stand up to the impunity” with which Jharkhand had shirked off its constitutional duty.

On September 10, the Jharkhand Police had dropped murder charges against the 11 accused in the lynching case, and charged them with culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Officials said there was no evidence to support the claim that Ansari had been murdered as postmortem reports indicated he suffered a cardiac arrest.

Two days later, a medico-legal document by five doctors of a medical college in Jharkhand’s Jamshedpur city confirmed that Ansari’s cardiac arrest was triggered by severe trauma. A doctor who was part of the team that performed Ansari’s autopsy claimed that the cardiac arrest could have been triggered by stress.

The letter has been signed by 16 faculty members and 85 students and non-teaching staff. “Some of us concerned faculty members and students have written to the PM on the way the Ansari case was probed,” News18 quoted professor Trilochan Sastry of the Decision Sciences Area, IIM-Bangalore, as saying. “As citizens, we have a duty and right to raise our voice on things that come to our notice. It should be re-investigated.”

On June 18, a mob caught Ansari in Dhaktidih village in Seraikela-Kharsawan district while he was allegedly attempting to steal a motorcycle. He was allegedly tied to a pole and beaten for 12 hours straight.

The police took Ansari into custody and produced him in a court, which sent him to judicial remand. Ansari fell ill on June 22 and was taken to a hospital, where he died. According to the first information report, the mob had forced Ansari to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman”.

A civil rights group from Jharkhand found lapses in Ansari’s treatment weeks after the incident. A three-member investigating team set up by district officials found that police negligence and lapses on the part of doctors led to his death.

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