The police in their charge sheet submitted in court in Tabrez lynching case on July 29 has dropped the charge of murder against Tabrez’s alleged attackers. Altaf Hussain, a lawyer who has taken up Tabrez’s case has filed a protest petition in court on August 31 against the charge sheet, reported The Quint.
On June 17, 2019, Tabrez was accused of theft, tied to a pole, forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Jai Hanuman’, and beaten up mercilessly for about seven hours. on June 22, Tabrez succumbed to his injuries.
According to a report in The Quint, as per the charge sheet the accused have been charged under Section 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 325 (causing grievous hurt) , 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings).
The accused have been identified as Prakash Mandal alias Pappu Mandal, Kamal Mahato, Sunamo Pradhan, Premchand Mahali, Sumant Mahato, Madan Nayak, Chamu Nayak, Mahesh Mahali, Kushal Mahali, Satyanarayan Nayak and Bhim Sen Mandal.
"We are hearing reports that Tabrez died of a sudden cardiac arrest. He however had a big wound on his head, his skull had been cracked due to the beating. How can they then say that the cause of death is just cardiac arrest?" Altaf asked as per the report published in The Quint.
R Narayan, investigating officer on the case said that the cause of death was sudden cardiac arrest. "We have sought double opinion [opinion from two doctors] who have confirmed this," he said.
According to The Quint, Human Rights Law Network lawyer Aman Khan did not find it right. "The cause of death is often shock or cardiac arrest. However, in this case, the medical opinion of the doctors had to be sought. Simply saying a cardiac arrest is entirely non-conclusive and provides no basis for the police to remove Section 302 of murder in the charge sheet."
However, Narayan defended the police's call to remove the charge. "A lot of deliberation has happened. Never in my career have I seen cardiac arrest to be the cause of death in such a case. We have to go by the post-mortem report."
3 member team, headed by the Saraikela-Kharwan Deputy Commissioner Anjaneyullu Dodde, was formed to probe the reason of Tabrez's death. "While the police reached late, the doctors did not diagnose skull injury correctly," Dodde had said in the findings of the report that came out on July 12.
Responding to the report, Narayan said, "We took him to Sadar hospital in Saraikela, he was not critical and no one had imagined at all that he would die. Yes, his CT scan didn't happen, but we are not Delhi where such facilities are readily available everywhere. Also, he was not vomiting or anything either."
Relying on the post-mortem, Narayan said, "Now since the cause of death is cardiac arrest, of course we cannot charge them under murder."
"They are trying to protect the accused," Altaf said, adding that considering that the head injury was mentioned in the post-mortem report the charge should and could have been added by the police. "We could have then argued on arguments of charge in court. If the judge does not accept our protest petition to include the charge of murder, we will approach the high court. The accused in the case have to be tried for murder," he was quoted as saying by The Quint.