The Hindu (Mumbai)

Oppn. parties in U.P. raise questions over Ansari’s death; magisteria­l probe ordered

- Mayank Kumar

Opposition leaders in Uttar Pradesh on Friday demanded a highlevel inquiry into the death of jailed gangstertu­rnedpoliti­cian Mukhtar Ansari, with Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav calling for a probe under the supervisio­n of a Supreme Court judge.

Ansari died of cardiac arrest on Thursday night within hours of being rushed to the Rani Durgawati Medical College in Banda district, according to the hospital’s medical bulletin. His son, Umar Ansari, alleged that the fivetime former MLA was being “slowpoison­ed” by a substance mixed in food given to him in Banda jail. Ansari faced more than five dozen cases and was in jail since 2005. In the last 18 months, he had been convicted in seven cases. “My father wrote to courts that he was being subjected to ‘slow poisoning’, the entire country now knows about it,” said the deceased’s son.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) of Banda district, meanwhile, ordered a judicial inquiry into the matter. The court directed the Banda MP/MLA Court Judge, Garima Singh, to submit the report within a month.

“It is the primary responsibi­lity and duty of the government to protect someone’s life in every situation and at every place. The death of a prisoner will erode public confidence in the judicial process. The way the government bypasses the judicial process and adopts other methods is completely illegal. U.P. is going through the worst phase of government anarchy,” Mr. Yadav said in a post on X.

Fourtime former Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati demanded a highlevel probe into the death in view of serious allegation­s by the family of the deceased.

“The persistent apprehensi­ons and serious allegation­s made by Mukhtar Ansari’s family regarding his death in jail require a highlevel probe so that the facts behind his death could be revealed,” said Ms. Mayawati.

Ansari’s body was handed over to his family members following a postmortem examinatio­n by a panel of five doctors in Banda medical college. Shops and markets remained closed in many towns amid the news of his funeral likely to be performed at the Kalibag graveyard in Ghazipur district’s Yusufpur Mohammadab­ad.

Prohibitor­y orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) have been imposed across the State.

 ?? PTI ?? Security personnel outside the medical college in Banda on Friday.
PTI Security personnel outside the medical college in Banda on Friday.

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