It could be called the ‘theatre of the absurd’, but it is actually a tragic lesson on how the police and bureaucracy can subvert the courts and tear humanity to shreds. What was being thought of as a victory for justice against barbarity has turned into a nightmare for the hapless survivors.
Over a year has passed since 55-year-old Alimuddin Ansari was lynched to death in Ramgarh, Jharkhand. A court had convicted the killers and given them life sentences in March this year. Yet, the local police have not issued a death certificate to Mariam Khatoon, Alimuddin’s widow, claiming that since he died in a moving police vehicle, his exact place of death can’t be ascertained. Without the death certificate, Mariam can’t get the compensation.
Meanwhile, 10 of the 11 persons convicted by the Special Fast Track court for lynching Alimuddin on June 29, 2017 are out on bail granted by the Jharkhand High Court last month.
After the court ordered the district services legal authority (DLSA) to initiate proceedings for ensuring compensation to the victim’s family, Mariam is running from pillar to post to get the death certificate, but the police have not ascertained till date the exact location where Alimuddin breathed his last. The piece of paper is necessary for the documentation of initiating the compensation process.
Also Read: Ramgarh Lynching: No Death Penalty for My Husband’s Murderers, Says Wife
“Since my husband got murdered, I have visited Ramgarh police station several times. Each time they have simply maintained that they are not sure of the place where he had died, hence were not being able to issue any letter in this regard. I also went to Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO), but he too passed the buck to the Ramgarh police, saying that they would issue it,” rued Mariam.
“Without his death certificate, we have been unable to claim for the government job and ration shop, which had been promised by the state administration,” she added.
It appears that even the autopsy report of the government-run Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi is not considered proof of death.
“The postmortem was done at RIMS and we were handed over the post-mortem report. We spotted a word ‘unknown’ written in name and address section of the report. Later, we submitted an affidavit and then the hospital authorities wrote a separate paragraph to mention my father’s name and address,” said Sajjad Ansari, the elder son of Alimuddin. Usually, autopsy reports don’t mention the place of death of the deceased.
“Tired of approaching the police, I decided to meet Deputy Commissioner Rajeshwari B. She took a week’s time, following which, I approached her again, she then took an extension of another week, which has just ended,” said Mariam.
When contacted by Newsclick, Rajeshwari B., DC, Ramgarh said, “Death certificate could not be issued as the police could not ascertain Alimuddin’s place of death.”
She refused to comment on whether this delay in issuing a death certificate was deliberate considering that many people die on their way to the hospital and still have their death certificates issued. However, she claimed that a solution to this bureaucratic mess had been worked out.
She told Newsclick, “We have found a solution to this. We will be asking the ward councilor of the area, where Alimuddin has been buried, to give a written statement and on basis of that document, we shall be issuing the death certificate. I am in touch with his widow and I will have it done soon.”
Meanwhile, Alimuddin’s family is also approaching the courts for intervention in case the DC’s solution doesn’t pan out.
“The family has decided to file a writ petition before the court, seeking its intervention, in case the death certificate is not issued this time,” said Shadab Ansari, counsel for Alimuddin’s family.
Also Read: Jharkhand Lynching: Lawyer Explains How Alimuddin Ansari Got Justice