Tabrez Ansari lynching case: Jharkhand police bring back murder charge on all accused

Eight days after the Jharkhand police dropped the murder charge against 11 accused in the mob lynching case of young Muslim man Tabrez Ansari, they brought back the same charge on the accused on Wednesday after obtaining a fresh medical report.

According to Indian Express, in a statement, the Jharkhand Police said that in the first chargesheet, “opinion on the cause of death” was kept “reserved” in the viscera report. And on invoking the murder charge under Section 302 of the IPC, police said they had “additional evidence” like the opinion sought from a second medical board of directors, which opined that Ansari’s death was due to the combined effect of “injury and cardiac arrest” and that the video was not tampered with.

Ansari was seen on national television being beaten up with rods while tied to a pole and forced to chant 'Jai Shri Ram' over alleged theft in June. Based on a fresh medical report, the police on Wednesday filed a supplementary charge sheet before a court in Seraikela-Kharsawan district, retaining Section 302 of the IPC (murder) against the 11 accused.

The police had on September 10 dropped murder charges against all the 13 accused in the mob lynching case and converted it into one of culpable homicide not amounting to murder (Section 304 of the IPC) on the basis of postmortem, medical and forensic reports which said 24-year-old Ansari died of cardiac arrest. While the quantum of punishment under Section 302 is death or imprisonment for life and fine, the penalty under Section 304 is imprisonment for life or imprisonment for 10 years or fine or both.

The 13 accused were arrested in connection with the death of 24-year-old Ansari. Ansari worked as a labourer and welder in Pune and had come home to celebrate Eid when he was captured by locals at Dhatkidih village on the night of June 17 over suspicion of trying to steal a motorcycle.

He was tied to a pole and assaulted by a mob with sticks and iron rods. A video of the scene that went viral and was flashed across tv networks showed he was forced to chant 'Jai Shri Ram' and 'Jai Hanuman' by his tormentors. Though there was no evidence of the perpetrators' link to any Hindu right organisation, Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists had protested their arrest.

A Special Investigation Team (SIT) was set up to look into the case after Ansari was declared "brought dead" by doctors at the Tata Main Hospital in Jamshedpur on June 22. Two policemen were suspended in connection with the incident.

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