Jharkhand lynching: Police drop murder charge against 11

Tabrez Ansari

Ranchi, September 10, 2019: Jharkhand Police have dropped the murder charge against 11 accused in the death of 22-year-old Tabrez Ansari attacked by a mob four months ago in the eastern Indian state’s Saraikela-Kharsawan area.

Citing the “final post-mortem report” that Ansari died of “cardiac arrest,” and that it was “not a case of pre-meditated murder,” police filed the chargesheet in August under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).

Police had earlier invoked IPC Section 302 (murder charge) in the First Information Report filed on a complaint by Ansari’s wife.

On June 18, a mob in Dhatkidih village tied Ansari to a pole, accused him of theft, assaulted him and allegedly forced him to chant “Jai Shri Ram and “Jai Hanuman.” After the assault, Ansari was arrested on charges of theft and sent to judicial custody.

Four days later, he was rushed to a local hospital where he succumbed to injuries sustained in the assault. On June 25, a doctor who conducted the post mortem told The Indian Express that Ansari’s death was “in all possibility” caused by a brain hemorrhage triggered by a head injury.

“There was an injury on the right frontoparietal region… There is a possibility that this led to effusion or oozing of blood from the skull leading to hemorrhage. This could be a possible cause of death,” Dr Bariyal Mari, Deputy Superintendent, Sadar Hospital, had said

At the time, however, the medical board had “reserved” its final opinion on the post-mortem pending results of forensic tests.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Karthik S, Saraikela-Kharsawan Superintendent of Police said: “We filed a chargesheet under IPC section 304 because of two reasons. One, he did not die at the spot… the villagers did not have any intent to kill Ansari. Second, the medical report did not substantiate the murder charge. The final post-mortem report said Ansari died due to cardiac arrest and that a hemorrhage in the head was not fatal. The second medical opinion said the cause of death was a combination of cardiac arrest and the head injury.”

Police said the chargesheet was vetted by the prosecution department. “Our motive is to secure a conviction. Initially, we thought we could invoke both 302 and 304 of the IPC, but that could not have gone parallel… The medical reports also did not decisively say death due to haemorrhage. In the court, this could have led to a problem,” said the police officer.

Amid a controversy over the case chargesheet – details of which have emerged in media reports this month – the police said they have filed charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against 11 accused. A twelfth accused was arrested on September 7 after he surrendered.

“Medical report did not give any supporting evidence for murder so that we charged (the accused) under culpable homicide not amounting to murder which is also equally punishable if not to the extent of murder sections,” the police officer said.

He said that two separate post-mortem reports found the same thing – Tabrez Ansari died of a cardiac arrest.

Asked about complaints by the victim’s family that said Tabrez’s head had been completely bashed in, the police superintendent said they could only go by the medical reports.

“That you have to ask the medical experts. I am not expert in that case. When we had doubts, we went for a second opinion. The experts have given their opinion that he died of a (cardiac) arrest because stress – mental or physical ailment,” he said.

Both the police as well as doctors who examined him first were held responsible for Tabrez Ansari’s death by a three-member team led by Saraikela-Kharwan Deputy Commissioner Anjaneyullu Dodde set up to probe its cause.

Sources: The Indian Express, ndtv.com

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