Muslim youth dies from police beating after sharing ‘objectionable’ photo on WhatsApp

By Staff Reporter

Ranchi: In another case of police brutality, a Muslim youth lost his life on Sunday morning at Ranchi Institute of Medical Science, Ranchi, after he was beaten all night by police officials in the Narayanpura Police station, Jamtara.

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According to reports, Minhaj Ansari, a 22-year-old mobile shop owner and a resident of Tarpar Tola, Dighari, Jamtara, was arrested along with two others on the night of October 3 for allegedly sharing objectionable photos on a WhatsApp group. According to the police, he had done so with an aim of hurting religious sentiments. The next day, two others were released by the police, while they continued to detain Minhaj. The two people who were released came back with black marks on their body and showed signs of considerable torture. They informed the family of Minhaj that he had been beaten so bad that he had apparently lost eyesight. Shocked, when the family reached the police station, they were informed that Minhaj was ill and had been taken to the local hospital. Speaking with, a local police official confirmed that Minhaj was first taken to the local hospital, following which he was referred to the government hospital in Jamtara, about 30 kms from Narayanpura. Refusing to divulge as to what exactly had happened to him, the police official said, “His condition did not improve in the Jamtara Hospital also, so then on October 5th, he was taken to Dhanbad for treatment.”

However, the ordeal for the family members had not finished yet. On October 6, when they reached Dhanbad to see Minhaj, the Narayanpura SHO Harish Pathak, the man allegedly at the centre of this case, denied them a chance to meet Minhaj. A scuffle followed, during which Pathak also allegedly assaulted Minhaj’s parents, and himself got injured. While local dailies said that Pathak was attacked in a life-threatening manner, Minhaj’s family members say no such thing happened.

Speaking with, Mohammed Ilyas, a family member, said, “When the parents were denied a chance to meet their ailing son, his mother got angry at hit Pathak while crying. A couple of her bangles got stuck in Pathak’s hand, but nothing more happened. How did that become life threatening, I do not know.” He further added that despite all this, the family was not given a chance to meet Minhaj, whose condition kept deteriorating. On October 7, he was again referred to Ranchi, and only then did his family get a chance to meet him.

“His eyes were wide open; they had become useless. His spine had been broken, his legs were broken. He could not move, and there was no response when his family saw him,” said a tearful Ilyas over the phone. “We stayed there, but all our hopes had been dashed,” said Ilyas. On October 9, Minhaj was declared dead.

On Sunday night, when the body of Minhaj arrived in Dighari, it was preceded with a dozen police vehicles to ensure that no one protested or raised their voice. “The police told us if there was any form of protest on our part, they would declare this as a Hindu-Muslim riot and that none of us would be spared,” says Ilyas.

According to another local Mohammed Sirajuddin, “the police wanted the body to be buried in the night, but we insisted that it should be done in the morning.”

On Monday morning, the local DSP and the SP visited Dighari and assured the family that action would be taken against the police. They also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the deceased’s family. “Minhaj had a one-year-old daughter. What use is Rs 2 lakh, when you have snatched away the father of a toddler,” asked Ilyas.

According to him, the accused officer, Harish Pathak has been suspended, but he added that they wanted a case against the accused people. “A person has been killed by the police, in their own backyard. We demand that Section 302 of the IPC be applied against Pathak and others who were involved. This murder has left the whole town shaken, and we are all mourning. The least we expect is justice, but even that won’t bring back Minhaj,” said Ilyas, crying over the phone.

Despite repeated attempts, Jamtara SP Manoj Kumar Singh could not be reached for comments.