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Beaten, forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’, Jharkhand man dies; 11 arrested

Seraikela-Kharsawan (Jharkhand) | Eleven people were arrested on Monday in connection with the death of a 24-year-old man, who was thrashed by a mob here for alleged theft and is seen in a purported video being forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman”, police said.

A special investigation team (SIT) has been set up to look into the death of Tabrez Ansari, who was declared “brought dead” by doctors at the Tata Main Hospital in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, on Saturday, the police said.

Two police personnel were suspended in connection with the incident. They were officers-in-charge of Kharaswan and Sini police stations, they said.

Seraikela-Kharsawan Superintendent of Police Karthik S said on June 17, Ansari and two others had entered a house in Seraikela village in the night, allegedly with an intention to commit theft.

However, the occupants of the house woke up and raised an alarm, following which villagers caught hold of Ansari and “manhandled” him, while his accomplices managed to flee, the SP told reporters.

Ansari was found to be in possession of valuables, which he and his associates had allegedly stolen from other villages, the officer said.

The police reached the spot in the morning and took Ansari to jail on the basis of a complaint from villagers, after administering first aid to him.

However, when his condition deteriorated in jail on the same day, he was taken to the a hospital, where he was diagnosed with multiple injuries, the SP said. He was subsequently referred to the Tata Main Hospital in Jamshedpur.

Earlier, the police had said Ansari was tied to a pole and beaten up with sticks through the night.

The video in question, circulated widely on social media, was shared with the police by Ansari’s family members and it was being investigated, the SP said.

“We are looking into all angles. His family members mentioned some unidentified miscreants in their complaint. Based on that, we have already arrested eleven people, including a man named Papu Mandal,” he added.

He said the situation was normal, yet a police posse had been deployed in the village. The SP said the post-mortem report had not been received yet.

Ansari’s wife, Shaista Praveen, has accused the police of taking him to jail first, instead of a hospital.

The opposition Congress said it had formed a seven-member team to probe the incident. “We demand Rs 25 lakh compensation for the family of the victim and a job for his wife,” a state Congress leader said.

The incident has triggered angry reactions from various political parties across the country.

Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti said Ansari was lynched to death in BJP-ruled Jharkhand.

“A Hindu mob thrashed him ruthlessly because he refused to chant ‘Jai Sri Ram’. Is this NDA 2.0’s New India? Yeh kaunsa tareeka hai sabka vishwas jeetnay ka (what kind of a process is this to win everyone’s trust)?,” the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister tweeted.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi said such incidents now followed a familiar pattern.

“This is the pattern with almost all lynchings. First, a Muslim is murdered by cow lovers. 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’,” he said in a tweet.

The incident also found mention in the Rajya Sabha, when senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said Jharkhand had become a “lynching factory”.

“Dalits and Muslims are being killed there every week. Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi, we are with you in the fight of ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’, but it should be there for people to see it. We cannot see it anywhere,” he said.

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