Kolkata: Barely few weeks after the brutal lynching of Tabrez Ansari, another 24-year-old youth was lynched to death, but this time in West Bengal. The victim identified as Sanaul Sheikh, like Tabrez has been accused of bike theft by the mob that took the liberty of lynching him instead of having him arrested, in Malda district, 326 kms from Bengal state capital.
The video that went viral shows three sturdy brutally assaulting Sanaul, who is seen both bleeding and pleading. The video shows the assailants hitting the boy in his private parts as he groans in pain. The two minute video also shows a civic volunteer thrashing the boy, who was later rescued by the local police. The police took him to the Bedrabad primary healthcare centre, where he was given first aid and taken back to the police station, where his condition further worsened and was rushed back to the healthcare centre, from where he was taken to Malda Medical College (MMC) and then Sanaul was brought to Kolkata’s SSKM hospital where he breathed his last.
Speaking to eNewsroom, his mother Safira Bibi said, “I want the culprits to be punished. The killing was a planned one. He was picked up from our home by two men. Later a boy came to inform us that Sanaul was being assaulted by men near Baishnabnagar bazaar. When we reached the spot he had already been rescued by police and was in the police station after having got the first aid. However, later in the day, I was called by the police saying that my son was not well and we needed to take him to Malda Medical College.” She takes a pause and then continues, “On reaching the hospital the police made me sign a blank paper saying that they needed my signature to get my son admitted at Malda Medical College. In the healthcare care centre I saw my son lying naked. His eyes and ears had been punctured and he had server bruise in his genital. He was bleeding both from his ear and head.”
She added that the police also gave her Rs 2000 to pay the ambulance driver. On reaching MMC she was referred to Kolkata’s SSKM hospital, where the boy breathed his last breath. On being asked about his son being accused of bike theft she said, “If he had stolen the bike, then where is the bike that was recovered, and even if he guilty of stealing then he should have been handed over to the police and not assaulted by the mob. He was also beaten by the police in the police station. I lost my husband recently and now my eldest son.”
On the allegation of Sanaul being a charge-sheeted thief, his neighbour Mosaeda Khatoon said, “Yes he used to steal bikes earlier. But it’s been over two years since he had reformed. His wife had played a pivotal role in reforming his ways. They have a six-month-old child; his tragic death has left the family without any earning member.”
When Aloke Rajoria, Superintendent of Police, Malda, was contacted to seek an official statement, he said, “We have arrested two of the accused so far. We are hopeful of arresting the remaining accused, who have been identified by us with the help of the viral video.” On being asked about the police negligence and other allegations being made by the family he said, “I am not aware of the mother being made to sign a blank paper, if we get a complaint, we will definitely look into the matter. And as for him being brought back to the police station after being given first aid, then let me tell you that this is the normal protocol in such cases.”
Local MLA Sabina Yeasmin, who had visited the victim’s residence told eNewsroom, “Let’s not look into the religion of the victim. The fact is that a person, a citizen of this country has been killed. His killers need to be punished.” She on being questioned about the police negligence, said, “Anyone found guilty will be punished, irrespective of his position.”
Meanwhile, Md Najimur Rahman, a member of Banga Sankriti Manch, an NGO that advocates for Human Rights said, “All that we want is the punishment of the culprits and some stern action against the police officials who have been lax and taken signature Sanual’s mother on some pretext and then filing an FIR on the same sheet. She along with some of our members will be meeting the SP with a fresh FIR in which she has identified the killers.”