regular-article-logo Thursday, 28 September 2023

MLA Naushad Siddiqui questions police response to Anis' murder

Indian Secular Front leader asks Mamata not to take the killing lightly, blames cops for allowing crime scene in Howrah to be tampered with

Arnab Ganguly Calcutta Published 21.02.22, 01:41 PM
Anis Khan.

Anis Khan. Twitter/@MayukhDuke

The Indian Secular Front legislator, Naushad Siddiqui, on Monday warned chief minister Mamata Banerjee not to take the mysterious death of student leader Anis Khan lightly and ensure a thorough investigation into allegations of the Opposition that the police were connected to the murder.

The MLA also blamed the police for their delayed response to the family's call after the murder, and alleged that the crime scene had been tampered with.


“If the chief minister, who also is in charge of the Home (police) department, thinks this is a chhotto ghatana (minor incident) she is mistaken,” Siddiqui said, alluding to the chief minister's comments made years ago in connection with a crime.

Mamata, who has not commented on Anis's killing as yet, has invited his family for a meeting later on Monday. But, senior Trinamul Congress leader and Calcutta mayor Firhad Hakim has condemned the killing and has asked the local SP to hold a full-fledged inquiry.

During her first term as chief minister, Mamata had faced criticism for using expressions like "chhotto ghatana" and "sajano ghatana (fabricated incident)" to explain instances of crime, especially those against women, including the infamous Park Street gang-rape, which involved then paramour of a current Trinamul MP.

Anis Khan's family has alleged that in the intervening night of Friday and Saturday, four men claiming to be policemen barged into their bare-brick three-storey house at Sarada Dakshin Khan Para at Howrah’s Amta, a largely rural locality.

While one of them, wearing a police uniform, pointed a firearm at the deceased’s father, Salaam Khan, three others climbed upstairs where they found Anis. The men came down a little later and the family members heard a loud thud. On peering out they found Anis’ lifeless corpse sprawled on the ground, the family has alleged.

Police have vehemently refuted Opposition allegations and claimed that they were in no way connected to the incident

But Siddiqui pointed to several lacunae in the subsequent response of the police.

“If, for arguments sake we accept that they were indeed cops, why did the turn up so late in the night? Were they carrying any warrant? How could they barge inside a house without the presence of any female constable?” asked the Bhangor MLA, who will be visiting the Amta residence of the Khan’s later this afternoon.

The first-time legislator also has several questions for the police.

“The family informed the local police station at 3 am. They came the next morning. If they were so casual in reaching the spot, why did they rush with the post-mortem? There were no barricades set up around the area where the body was found, and the scene of crime was contaminated. We have doubts about the quality of forensic evidence,” said Siddiqui.

The death of Anis has already become a rallying point for students, especially Leftists, with whom the Indian Secular Front, of which Anis was a member, has an electoral alliance.

“At this moment it is not important who is raising the banner of protest. The protest has to continue. Anis was a kind of person who took the lead in protesting against any such acts of atrocities, be it the death by suicide of Rohith Vemula, CAA, Aliah University or arrest of APDR activists. If his death is not probed, all protests will die. No one will dare to speak against the ruling party,” Siddiqui said.

Siddiqui alleged the family was being pressured not to talk about the run-in that Anis had with local Trinamul members and that they were offered a job and financial compensation to hush up the case.

“Compensation and stuff can come later. First it must be ascertained why a student who was the face of protests had to die like this. The police have to come clean, or else no one will believe them when they go to investigate any case in the villages. That cannot be a very pleasant experience for them,” Siddiqui said.

Siddiqui said he would try to convince the family members to exhume the body for another round of post-mortem.

“This time we want it to be conducted in the presence of a magistrate,” he demanded.

Follow us on: