In Another Blow To the Ramgarh Lynching Case, Wife of Main Witness Dies Near Court; Deposition Stalled

13 October 2017
Alimuddin Ansari's vehicle, which was set aflame by the mob that lynched him, on 29 June 2016. Yesterday, the wife of the main witness in the case died less than a kilometre from the court. The witness was ultimately unable to depose.
AFP/Getty Images
Alimuddin Ansari's vehicle, which was set aflame by the mob that lynched him, on 29 June 2016. Yesterday, the wife of the main witness in the case died less than a kilometre from the court. The witness was ultimately unable to depose.
AFP/Getty Images

On 12 October, Zulaikha Khatoon, the wife of the only eyewitness in the case of the lynching of Alimuddin Ansari, died in an alleged road accident barely a kilometer away from a Ramgarh district court. Zulaikha was on her way to fetch a photo identification card that would allow her husband, Jaleel Ansari, to appear before the court that day. He was ultimately unable to depose.

Alimuddin was lynched on 29 June. Jaleel was the first person to alert the residents of Manua village, where he and Alimuddin lived, of the murder. According to the Jharkhand police, Alimuddin died after being beaten by the members of the Gau Raksha Dal—a local cow-protection group—and the Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). The members of the extremist Hindu groups had attacked Alimuddin in the middle of Bazar Tand, a market in the Ramgarh district of Jharkhand, on the suspicion that he was carrying beef in his tempo.

“Prima facie it appears to be a case of accident,” Priyadarshi Alok, the superintendent of police of Ramgarh, told me over phone. “But, we are investigating it from all possible angles.” In a complaint lodged with Ramgarh police station the same day, Jaleel alleged that his wife’s death resulted from a “planned conspiracy” to prevent him from appearing in court.

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    Sagar is a staff writer at The Caravan.

    Keywords: VHP beef Jharkhand police Bajrang Dal Ramgarh cow-protection vigilantes Ramgarh lynching cow protecting gau rakshak
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