Indian police dropped the murder charges against 11 people accused of participating in the murder of a Muslim man who was tortured and forced to sing Hindu slogans in June. Scroll.in reported Tuesday.
Quoting Indian express, the publication reported that the police in Jharkhand state in eastern India said that one of the reasons why no charges were filed under Section 302 (punishment for murder) of the Criminal Code of India was because a post mortem examination attributed the death of Tabrez Ansari to cardiac arrest.
Earlier, two police officers were suspended for handling Ansari lynching, captured in a video that went viral on Indian social networks.
The 24-year-old was seen in the video crying and pleading when a mob in Jharkhand forced him to sing "Jai Sri Ram"(save Lord Ram), a slogan widely used by uncompromising Hindus.
Ansari had been accused by the villagers of carrying out a robbery. He was tied to a pole and beaten up to 12 hours before the police stopped him for the first time in Seraikela, and then he was taken to the hospital, where he died.
Media reports said Ansari's wife had accused the police of deliberately taking him to jail first, instead of a hospital, despite the critical injuries he had suffered.
According to Scroll.in, the defendants in the case were charged under Section 304 (punishment for wrongful death that does not amount to murder) of the Indian Criminal Code instead of Section 302.
Saraikela-Kharsawan police superintendent, Karthik S, gave two reasons for filing charges under Section 304.
"One, did not die in the place […] the villagers had no intention of killing Ansari, "Karthik said Scroll.in. "Second, the medical report did not corroborate the murder charge."
According to the police officer, the final post-mortem report says that Ansari died from cardiac arrest and that bleeding in his head was not fatal.
"The second medical opinion said that the cause of death was a combination of cardiac arrest and head injury," he said.
After the murder of Ansari, the opposition party of Congress accused the right-wing government of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not protecting Muslims and other minorities.
"Can the BJP government honestly refute the US government's report on minority security when Muslims and Dalits are openly lynched every two days?" Shama Mohamed, a spokesman for Congress, had said at the time.
But Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi condemned the murder and said the government will not allow a "destructive agenda" to dominate India's development efforts.
"The people involved in such incidents have only one reason: to spoil the positive atmosphere created by the government," he said.