By Shuriah Niazi
New Delhi (AA) - Indian police on Monday arrested five people for torturing a Muslim man, who later died of his wounds, in the latest suspected lynching incident by Hindu vigilantes.
A 10-minute video shows Tabrez Ansari, 24, being beaten by a group of men over accusations that he had carried out a burglary. Tied to a pole, Ansari is forced to shout "Jai Shri Ram" (Hail Lord Ram), a slogan used by Hindus, according to the footage, which has gone viral.
Talking to Anadoly Agency, Ansari's wife Shaihista Parveen rubbished the charges of burglary and described it a hate killing.
"It was the night of June 17. My husband was returning from the city of Jamshedpur to the village, when some people stopped him. They tied him to an electric pole alleging that he was a thief. He was asked to chant Hindu slogans,” she said.
"He was beaten up mercilessly whole night. In the morning, they handed him over to police. But instead of taking action against those responsible for beating him, police sent my husband to jail on charges of burglary. He had received internal injuries and later died in the hospital," Parveen said, in a choked voice.
She was married to Ansari just few months back. In a written complaint, she has held local police and jail administration responsible for negligence.
The in-charge of local police station Avinash Kumar, who has now been suspended, told media that people of Ghatkigeeh village had caught Tabrez Ansari after committing theft.
"The villagers handed him over to us. A case of theft was registered against him. We took him to the court, which sent him to prison. There is no negligence of the police in this case."
Tabrez's family has alleged that the attack was one of hate crimes. “If he was stealing, why he was forced to chant Hindu religious slogans?”
Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das has ordered a probe by a special investigation team. The province has been in the limelight for incidents of mob lynching over past many years. According to a report by the Jharkhand Janadhara Morcha, a rights group, at least 12 people have been killed by the mob over the past five years. Out of them, 10 were Muslims, accused of carrying cows or possessing beef.
Most of the accused apprehended by police belonged to Hindu radical outfits.
A minister in the previous Narendra Modi government Jayant Sinha was criticized for welcoming the accused persons, convicted by a lower court for lynching a Muslim man Alimuddin Ansari to death, after they were out on a parole.
Sinha had also reportedly given financial help to the accused persons, to fight the case in the court.