The wife of the key witness to Alimuddin Ansari’s lynching in Ramgarh died in an accident around 11:30 pm on 12 October outside the court premises, when she was on her to way to get some documents for the hearing.
Julekha Khatoon was on her way home on a motorbike to get her husband and key witness, Jalil Ansari’s Aadhaar card with Alimuddin’s eldest son Shehzad Ansari. A few minutes after they left the court premises in Ramgarh, they were hit from the rear by a bike with two riders. Julekha lost balance and fell off the bike, while Shehzad sustained minor injuries.
Shehzad took his aunt to the nearest hospital, but she later succumbed to her injuries.
Alimuddin Ansari was lynched to death on 29 June in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh district, on suspicion of carrying beef. He was surrounded by an enraged mob of at least 10 who repeatedly beat him with sticks. No one came to his aid. After a call to the police, he was escorted by policemen to hospital, but succumbed to his internal injuries before he reached.
Alimuddin’s elder brother Sahmuddin Ansari told The Quint:
Jalil Ansari was on his way to the court for a land dispute hearing when he saw the mob around Alimuddin in Sanichar bazaar where he was lynched. He was there, and hence in a position to identify those responsible for his death.
When asked if the family has been threatened directly, Alimuddin’s elder brother said they had not, but that that didn’t mean they didn’t feel constantly intimidated:
When we go to the court for the hearing these people come in large numbers always, like they’re showing us their strength. As we walk in and around the court premises they constantly keep staring at us, intimidating us and making us feel uncomfortable. In spite of all this, we won’t stop going to court.Jalil Ansari, Key Witness
Ramgarh Superintendent of Police, Kishore Kaushal, said he would investigate the matter.
When Shehzad and Julekha were hit from the rear, the woman fell head first. She was hit hard and didn’t survive much longer. We will wait for the post-mortem report and investigate the matter if there is any foul play.Kishore Kaushal, Superintendent of Police, Ramgarh
Another senior police official, on condition of anonymity, said her death seems to be an accident and not motivated.
Alimuddin has 6 children who relied entirely on him for survival. The court trial, in an environment of intimidation, continues to obstruct the path to justice for a family that is yet to fully recover from the loss of a loved one.