16, Mar 2018 | CJP Team
A local BJP leader is among the 11 people convicted by a Jharkhand court in the Alimuddin Ansari lynching case. 45 year old coal trader Ansari was mercilessly lynched by nearly 100 men on June 29, 2017 in Ramgarh district for allegedly transporting beef in his van. This is the first conviction in any of the lynching cases that have taken place post 2014 when the new government came to power. The trial court in Jharkhand today convicted all of the 11 people accused in a cow vigilantism-related murder case.
All of the 11 accused – including a local BJP leader – were convicted under IPC Section 302 (murder). In addition, three of them were convicted under Section 120B (conspiracy) – indicating that the court was convinced that the attack was pre-meditated. This is the first time, ‘gau rakshaks’ or self proclaimed cow protectors have been convicted in a case relating to ‘Gautankwad’ or violence in the name of cow protection, anywhere in India. The sentencing will take place on March 20.
Alimuddin Ansari aka Asgar Ali of Mouna village was allegedly carrying 200 kgs of meat in his van when he was intercepted by the mob at Bazartand in Ramgarh district. They dragged him outside his vehicle and beat him with sticks and pieces of meat. The mob also set his car on fire. His assailants had been keeping tabs on him ever since he purchased the meat at 7:30 in the morning and tracked and followed him for 15 kilometers before attacking him. His car was also set on fire. The police had intervened and rescued him within 30 minutes. He was first taken to Sardar Hospital in Ramgarh, but transferred to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi because of the severity of his injuries. It was at the second hospital that Ansari breathed his last. Interestingly, the attack on Ansari took place on the same day Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to finally break his silence around the issue of cow vigilantism.
Two people were arrested in the case, including local BJP leader Nityanand Mahato. Another prime accused Chhotu Rana then surrendered before the Ramgarh court. Five more persons had then been arrested in connection with the incident. According to the Ramgarh police, arrests were made based on videos and photos. A special team had also been constituted to review the videos and photos which were circulated in the social media. In videos of the assault that did the rounds on social media, the assailants were seen beating Ansari with pieces of meat while his car was on fire in the background.
Ansari’s wife, Mariam Khatoon, had told the media then that she was certain that members of the Bajrang Dal were responsible for her husband’s death. “They were rogues owing allegiance to Bajrang Dal,” she had alleged.
The case also made headlines when in October 2017, a witness was unable to testify because his wife was killed in an accident outside the courtroom. “Alimuddin’s brother Jalil Ansari, a witness in the murder case, had come to depose before the court on Thursday. He had forgotten his identity proof, so he asked his wife Julekha, aged around 50, and Alimuddin’s son Shahzad Ansari (22) to go home and get it. The accident occurred while they were on their way. The police said that an unidentified bike hit the victim’s bike,” the Indian Express had reported then. Khatoon had alleged then that the accident could have been a ploy from the other side.
Defence lawyers told the local media that they will be appealing the conviction.