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Jharkhand: Food van driver killed over allegations of bike theft, family claims ‘personal enmity’. Here is what we know so far

Tabarak alleged that the accused Saheb Ram Mahato had threatened his brother Mubarak Khan four days prior to the incident. He has asked the police to press charges for murder.

On Sunday, a 26-year-old food van driver was thrashed and killed in Maheshpur village in Sirka in Ranchi district of Jharkhand, following allegations of theft, reported Indian Express.

The deceased has been identified as one Mubarak Khan. Indian Express reported that Khan was tied to an electric pole at around 1 am on Sunday night and beaten by a mob of 20-25 people for trying to steal the tire and wheels of a Pulsar bike. While speaking about the incident, DGP (Jharkhand) Niraj Sinha said, “According to the information available, two people were caught by a few villagers during a theft. One of them ran away and the other one was beaten to death.”

Indian Express reported that the Angara police have arrested 12 accused so far, although an official confirmation is yet to be made. According to New Indian Express, a First Information Report (FIR) was lodged against 17 identified people and others for killing Mubarak Khan. Angara police (officer-in-charge) Brajesh Kumar said, “As per the information gathered so far, Mubarak, a resident of the nearby village Maheshpur,  was trying to steal the battery and the tires of the Pulsar bike in Sirka. the villagers caught him in the act and thrashed him badly. He died on the spot.”

Deceased’s family, locals claim ‘personal enmity’ behind the killing

Khan’s brother Tabarak told Indian Express that he had received information about the incident from the ex-Pramukh Anwar Khan at around 3 am on Sunday night. In his complaint, he has named several residents of Sirka, namely, Durga Mahato, Dhani Ram Mahato, Raju Munda Durag Munda, Balram Mahato, SaviChandra Mahato, Kaamlaal Mahato, Saheb Ram Mahato, Dilip Mahato and 25 unidentified people.

Tabarak alleged that the accused Saheb Ram Mahato had threatened his brother Mubarak Khan four days prior to the incident. He has asked the police to press charges for murder. His claim, that Mubarak was killed due to personal enmity, also found the support of one of the locals named Zakir Khan. Alleging that the deceased was being framed, he said that a jack (used for changing tires of four-wheelers) was proof enough that Mubarak Khan was not trying to steal the bike. “What is the use of a jack for stealing wheels of a bike,” he told the New Indian Express.

Ex-village Pramukh rules out ‘accident’ from the deceased’s injuries

Ex-village pramukh Anwar Khan told the Indian Express that he received a call from one Roshan Munda wherein he was told that the victim has died. When he went to the Sirka village, he was taken to the crime spot where the body of the deceased was lying in vicinity of a bike.

“Initially the villagers were telling me that he was fleeing after stealing a tyre of a motorbike and then slipped and died. I checked and found that there were no marks or scratches on the bike, nor any bruise on his hands. I told them this is not an accident case,” he said. Anwar Khan claimed that he concluded from the injuries on the deceased’s body that he was thrashed, prior to his death.

Police initiates probe into the ‘theft’ and ‘personal enmity’ angle

As per a report by the Times of India, an official from the Angara police station informed that Mubarak Khan was thrashed “after being caught fleeing while attempting to steal.” According to some locals, Khan broke into a house to steal the tyre of a bike when he was caught and thrashed. The police official said that the victim died on the spot. On receiving information, a police team headed by SP (Ranchi rural) Naushad Alam reached the crime scene.

The cops are now investigating the theft angle in the case. SP Naushad Alam also conceded that Mubarak Khan had a heated conversation with some locals a few days prior to his death. “We are looking into all aspects to ensure the speedy arrest of the culprits in the case,” he concluded.

On March 8, one Sachin Verma was beaten to death

On March 8, over 40 daily wage workers had beaten a person named Sachin Kumar Verma to death in the Kotwali police station area in Ranchi. Verma was accused of vehicle theft too. He had died while being taken to hospital for treatment.

Tabrez Ansari Case: Cops arrest co-accused Arif Ansari

In June 2019, the incidents of theft took place at the house of three persons named Hemsagar Pradhan, Rajesh Pramanik and Kamal Mahato. Three culprits were reportedly involved in the theft, out of whom the locals were able to nab one Mohammad Tabrez Ansari. Ansari was brutally beaten by the locals before the police had reached the spot. After reaching there police rescued Ansari and sent him for medical examination. Ansari was accused of trying to steal a bike.

The matter was picked up by national media after Tabrez Ansari’s death after some days was portrayed as a case of mob lynching. The matter was highly politicised and violent protests were carried out by Muslims organisations against Ansari’s death. In a major breakthrough in the case in January this year, Seraikela police had arrested a man named Arif Ansari for allegedly possessing two stolen mobiles phones. The phones were on kept on surveillance by the police since they were stolen. Accused Arif Ansari deals in sale and purchase of stolen mobile phones. He has been sent jailed several times in similar cases.

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