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India
11 Sep 2018

Swachh Bharat scuffle death: Pratapgarh police report clears the accused

More than a year after a 53-year-old activist died in Rajasthan's Pratapgarh after an altercation with civic officials engaged in the Swachh Bharat campaign, police have submitted a final report concluding that he died of cardiac arrest.

The victim, Zafar Hussain, had objected to officials photographing women defecating in the open, and had allegedly been beaten to death.

Here are the details.

In context

Swachh Bharat scuffle: Activist died of cardiac arrest
There are two sides to what went down that day

The incident

There are two sides to what went down that day

Hussain's death had led to a nationwide outrage, with several activists criticizing the Rajasthan government for claiming that preliminary post-mortem reports pointed towards Hussain dying of a cardiac arrest.

His kin, however, claimed that he was beaten to death, and lodged cases against municipal council commissioner Ashok Jain, and employees Kamal Harijan, Ritesh Harijan and Manish Harijan.

Final reports

Police final reports absolve both the parties

However, the final report in the case, submitted by the Pratapgarh police on September 4, concluded that Hussain had indeed died of a heart attack, and that no charges could be framed against the accused.

Police also submitted another final report in another case, this one filed against Hussain, saying that no charges could be framed against the late activist.

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The Pratapgarh SP's statement on the cases

"An altercation happened during the incident...[and] he (Hussain) went home. It has been found that he died later because of a heart attack. In both the cases, final reports have been submitted...as no charges could be proved," said Shivraj Meena, SP, Pratapgarh.

Hussain's kin still believes that the activist was murdered

Reactions

Hussain's kin still believes that the activist was murdered

However, Hussain's kin still claim that the activist was murdered by civic officials.

Talking to the Indian Express, his family said that they now believe that Pratapgarh police are shielding the accused and that justice has been denied to him.

However, then municipal council commission Ashok Jain maintains that Hussain had not been assaulted, and that he went home in a healthy condition.

Hussain's family will challenge the final report in court

"We hoped that the police will conduct a fair investigation. As is clear from the final report, they have shielded the accused. My brother was murdered and we will approach the judiciary for action. We want justice," said Hussain's brother, Noor Mohammed.

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