(L-R) Advocates Mohammad Shadab Ansari, Raju Hembram and Mumtaz Ansari along with members of Alimuddin’s family after judgment in Ramgarh, Jharkhand on 21 March 2018.

MUMTAZ ALAM | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI /RANCHI: “We had strong evidences and the prosecution as well as the local administration were good and acted positively – this all helped us fight the case through to the successful end,” said young lawyer Advocate Mohammad Shadab Ansari while talking to Caravan Daily over phone on Thursday, day after a court in Jharkhand awarded life sentence to all 11 accused in the June 2017 mob lynching of Mohammad Alimuddin.

Adv. Shadab is member of the team of three young lawyers who fought the case in the Fast Track Court in Ramgarh district where Alimuddin, 55, was lynched by a brutal gang of cow vigilantes that included a BJP office bearer also last year. Other two lawyers of the team are Advocate Raju Hembram and Advocate Mumtaz Ansari. They all are attached to the Human Rights Law Network or HRLN.

In the year 2017, at least one dozen people, mostly Muslims were mercilessly lynched by unlawful gangs of cow vigilantes in various states ruled by BJP. From Dadri in Uttar Pradesh to Alwar in Rajasthan to Ballabhgarh in Haryana, Mohammad Akhlaq, Pahlu Khan and Junaid Khan were killed. In none of the dozen-odd cases, accused have been convicted.

But the Ramgarh case stood out thanks to the hard work of the lawyers. In just 10 months, they have secured conviction and sentencing. On March 16, the accused –Nitayanand Mahto, Santosh Singh, Deepak Mishra and Chhotu Verma (members of a gau raksha samiti), Sikander Ram, Vicky Saw, Raju Kumar, Vikram Prasad, Kapil Thakur and Uttam Kumar were convicted and on March 21, all of them were awarded life sentence by judge Om Prakash. One of the accused, Nitayanand Mahto was district media cell in-charge of BJP.

Alimuddin, a driver by profession, is survived by wife, two daughters and a son. They all were present in the court on Wednesday when the judge announced sentencing to the accused.

Excerpts from Interview with Adv. Shadab Ansari:

Who will you give credit for the success in the Ramgarh lynching case?

It is not possible to give credit to one person because many people played role at one level or the other to take the case to the final conclusion. My team had three lawyers. Besides me, there were Advocate Raju Hembram and Advocate Mumtaz Ansari. The local administration played positive and good role. They also deserve credit because they investigated the case professionally and without taking any side. Prosecution also played a good role. Besides, there were many people who supported us.

We focused on the evidence which we had and put it strongly before the court. We all are happy that our hard work has given us success.

What is your comment on the judicial staff and judge of the Fast Track Court?

I cannot comment on the judge. He gave verdict on the basis of evidence presented before him. There was strong evidence against the accused and so we got this good judgment.

The judge has directed the authorities to provide compensation for the victim family. Has he fixed any amount?

No, he has not fixed any amount. The judge observed that the state has failed in its duty to protect the life of the deceased (Alimuddin Ansari). He said the widow of the deceased should be given compensation after enquiry into her financial condition, and it will be fixed by the district services legal authority (DLSA). The judge has not fixed any quantum of amount.

What will you do if the convicts challenge the verdict in higher court?

We will take note of their decision and plan accordingly. Earlier, they had approached the High Court seeking bail. We represented Maryam Khatoon, widow of Alimuddin, and opposed their move and the High Court rejected the bail plea of all.

Source- Caravan Daily