Cop accused of killing Muslim youth in custody in Jharkhand finally booked for murder

By Staff Reporter

Nearly five months after Minhaj Ansari, a 22-year-old mobile shop owner and a resident of Tarpar Tola, Dighari, Jamtara was brutally murdered in police custody, the SHO of the Narayanpura police station-Harish Pathak-has finally been booked for murder under the Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.

The Association for Protection of Human Rights, which has been helping the family of Ansari since the incident, said this was a small victory in the fight for justice. The family had been demanding to book the police officer under Section 302 since Ansari’s death, but in the initial report, Pathak-who was suspended immediately-was booked under 354, 341, 342, 323, 325, 507, 504, 506, 34 but not 302.

In the aftermath of the incident, APCR had written to the State Human Rights Commission, the National Human Rights Commission and the state government asking them to intervene in ensuring justice to Ansari’s family. Commenting on the news, Ziaullah of APCR said, “APCR will soon have a meeting on this issue and decide the future course of action in this case.”

Ansari was arrested along with two others on the night of October 3 for allegedly sharing objectionable photos on a WhatsApp group and taken to the Narayanpura police station.  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 Ansari remained in custody. 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. On October 9, Minhaj was declared dead at the Ranchi Institute of Medical Sciences.

Although the police denied that Ansari had been tortured in custody, the post-mortem report available with confirmed that excessive torture was used on Ansari.The post-mortem report, dated October 14 points out that the victim had injuries in his sole, there was blood oozing from his mouth and he had injuries in his stomach, large intestine and back. “The mucus of stomach was highly congested…it was layered with blood, reddish brown in colour. The stomach was empty…2/3rd of the small intestine was filled with blood,” the report reads. It further adds, “Above noted injuries are anti-mortem, caused by hard and blunt substances…The cause of death is haemorrhage and shock.”