Jharkhand: 2 days later, confusion shrouds what set off violence at poll booth

Abhishek Angad
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People wait in queues to cast their votes at a polling station in Jharkhand. (PTI Photo/File)

Following the disruption in polling at Baghni village of Jharkhand's Sisai constiuency on Saturday due to violence, repolling took place on Monday, but confusion shrouds what triggered the violence.

On Saturday, RPF personnel at the booth opened fire. While one Jilani Ansari was killed, two others, Tabrez Ansari and Ashfaq Ansari, were injured. Police, however, said the post-mortem report did not mention any bullet injury on Jilani’s body.

Ashfaq’s sister, Afsari Khatoon, said the incident was triggered by an altercation. “Ashfaq and I were standing in separate queues. Suddenly, I saw my brother move out of the queue with his child. This led to an argument with an RPF personnel... The RPF personnel started pushing him and... he was shot in the thigh.”

She trashed the police claim that he was trying to snatch the RPF personnel’s weapon.

Mohammad Hasib Ansari alleged that the RPF personnel was “trying to influence voting”.

“People protested and this led to an altercation,” he said.

Jilani’s wife, Roshan Jahan , said, “I was in the queue when an argument happened and gunshots were fired... Suddenly someone from the rooftop shot and a bullet brushed his stomach. He died instantly,” she said.

On December 7, the Election Commission said in a release that a scuffle broke out between RPF personnel when a few villagers “tried to overpower a jawan and snatch his weapon”.

“In the ensuing incidence villagers started stone pelting on jawans who then opened fire. In the incidence, one Jilani Ansari died due to bullet injury, while two others sustained injury,” it said. A day later, Jharkhand police issued a release, saying Jilani did not die of a bullet injury. A three-member board which conducted the postmortem mentioned cause of death as “shock and haemorrhage” due to trauma inflicted by “sharp cutting weapon”.

DGP K N Choubey said, “There was no attempt to influence the voting process.”

Police said an FIR was registered against RPF personnel following a complaint by Jilani’s wife. But after the the post-mortem report, 12 unidentified villagers were booked. Another FIR was registered on a complaint by presiding officer of the booth Debashish Prasad. He has told police that some people wanted to cast votes out of their turn.

“A few persons did not listen and pushed the RPF personnel and attempted to snatch his weapon. During this, there was an accidental fire which hit a person’s thigh...” he has said.

Gumla SP Anjani Kumar Jha said, “It is very unusual that the wound (on Jilani) was inflicted by a bullet because the injury will have an entry and exit wound. The post-mortem was conducted in the presence of a magistrate and was videographed. Any expert can view it.”