A 22 year old Muslim youth Minhaj Ansari died after being brutally beaten by police in Narayanpur block in Jaamtada district. On 17 October, a fact-finding team comprising of members from AIPF, UMF, Right to Food Campaign, Anjuman Islamia, Yuva Ulgulan Manch and ACPR visited Minhaj Ansari’s home and talked to his family members and villagers. The following facts emerged during the fact finding:
On 3 October evening, the station incharge of Narayanpur station along with other police personnel took away Minhaj Ansari, Fahim and Shabaan from Minhaj’s shop. There was a complaint against Minhaj that he has posted a controversial picture in a whatsapp group. They were beaten while they were being taken away. Several villagers reported that on the night Minhaj was arrested the police made him run and beat him mercilessly. They could hear his and others cry for help. The police also threatened those standing outside witnessing this cruelty that they too would be shot if they did not go inside.
Minhaj’s relatives reported that when they saw Minhaj’s dead body, the bones of his neck, hand and feet were found to be broken. The post mortem report had mentioned excessive bleeding. Shahban and Fahim who had been arrested along with Minhaj shared that Minhaj had anticipated that the police would kill him. Shahban said that while initially they were beaten together, later Minhaj was taken to a separate room to be beaten. They could hear his cries from the other room. On the night of 3 October when the police sub inspector went to Minhaj’s home to collect his laptop and sim card, they let him talk to his sister on phone, where he also shared with her that the police will kill him and they must give the police whatever the police is asking for. Besides laptop and Sim, they also took 3000 rupees cash. They abused his sister calling her whore and threatened his relatives that they would be put behind bars if they spoke in favour of Minhaj.
Minhaj’s family never saw him alive again after he was picked by police. Even when he was produced before SP, he could hardly move and he was unconscious. On 6 October he was sent to RIMS hospital where his parents saw him but there was no movement in his body. It was on 9 October that he was officially declared dead.
The team found out that Minhaj had been killed in police custody in which the station sub-inspector Harish Pathak, RSS members and the Cow protection groups have a direct role in Mihnaj’s death. Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Jaamtada district secretary Sonu Singh had complained against him and when Minhaj’s uncle went to the police station, Sonu Singh was present there beating Minhaj and giving directions to Harish Pathak to beat him. Minhaj’s family has registered a case of murder against Sonu Singh.
The fact finding team has demanded that Sonu Singh and Harish Pathak be arrested and all false cases slapped on relations and family of Minhaj be taken back. His family should also be paid a compensation. There should be impartial judicial investigation into the entire incident. During the release of the report the team also condemned the Raghuvar Das government for oppressing democratic voices and unleashing police oppression and terror in the state.