(CTN NEWS) – A court in India has handed down 10-year jail terms to 10 men convicted of beating a Muslim man, Tabrez Ansari, to death four years ago.
Ansari, aged 24, died days after being attacked by individuals who accused him of stealing a motorcycle in the state of Jharkhand.
The incident gained widespread attention after a video went viral showing Ansari forcibly made to chant praises to Hindu gods while pleading for his life.
The footage evoked immense outrage throughout India. Ansari’s family alleged that the police refused him treatment despite his injuries, although the state police denied any wrongdoing.
The video depicted a terrified Ansari tied to an electricity pole, subjected to assault by a mob while blood and tears streamed down his face.
His attackers coerced him into repeatedly chanting “Jai Shri Ram,” meaning “hail Lord Ram” or “victory to Lord Ram.” Despite complying, Ansari was continuously assaulted throughout the night.
The following day, he was handed over to the police, who subsequently arrested him on theft charges. His family claimed they were denied access to him.
On 22 June 2019, Ansari complained of nausea, vomiting, and chest pain. He was transferred to a hospital but succumbed to the injuries sustained during the attack.
Last week, Judge Amit Shekhar of the trial court convicted the 10 men, finding them “guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.”
Initially, the police faced criticism for not charging the accused with the more severe offense of murder. However, murder charges were eventually filed against all the accused in a supplementary charge sheet.
Despite this, the judge concluded that there was insufficient evidence to convict them of murder.
Ansari’s lynching by a Hindu mob was not an isolated incident.
In recent years, there have been several similar cases reported in India where Muslims have been targeted by so-called “cow vigilantes” based on rumors of beef consumption or allegations of cow smuggling—an animal revered by many Hindus.
Controversy Surrounding Anti-Muslim Violence and Cow Slaughter Laws in India
Cow slaughter is illegal in numerous Indian states.
These attacks against the minority community have drawn condemnation from opposition politicians, with senior Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi referring to Ansari’s lynching as a “blot on humanity.”
Critics argue that anti-Muslim violence has increased since 2014 under the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
They claim that the prime minister has not promptly or strongly denounced such attacks.
The government, however, denies these accusations and points out that Mr. Modi expressed his “pain” over the assault shortly after Ansari’s killing.
He had previously stated that “killing people in the name of cow” was “unacceptable.”
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