Prompt police action could have saved Idrees Pasha, says fact-finding report | Azad Times

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Azad Times News Desk.

A fact-finding report on the murder of cattle transporter Idrees Pasha in Karnataka’s Ramanagara district has highlighted glaring lapses and inaction by the police. Idrees was chased, beaten, and allegedly killed by a group led by Hindutva extremist Puneeth Kerehalli on March 31, a few metres from the Sathanur police station in Ramanagara.

The fact-finding report was prepared by advocate Sivamanithan, activists Siddarth KJ and Sylvia Karpagam, and Khasim Shoaib Qureshi of the All India Jamiathul Quresh. The report, which highlighted the police’s failure to act even though the attack took place in close proximity to the police station, corroborates the findings of TNM's investigation into the death, which had raised suspicions of police complicity.

"The fact that anti-social elements felt emboldened enough to stop vehicles and extort money at such a close distance from the police station and the fact that the police didn’t prioritise the safety and security of the victims points towards the impunity enjoyed by them. If the police had immediately apprehended all the attackers and had urgently searched for the victims, it is possible that the life of Idrees could have been saved," read the report.

TNM had reported that Idrees and two others were stopped on the Bengaluru-Kanakapura Road in Sathanur on the night of March 31 by Puneeth Kerehalli and his group. Puneeth accused the trio of illegally transporting cattle and ordered them to step out of the vehicle. Three other vigilantes checked the container and found cattle inside. Even though Idrees produced a permit for cattle transportation, he was assaulted by Puneeth's group. The next morning, the body of Idrees was found merely 500 metres from the Sathanur police station.

Though the police accepted complaints from both groups and filed First Information Reports (FIR), the fact-finding report found that the police had prioritised the complaint of the Hindutva extremist group. "The sequence of the FIRs filed in the case indicate that the police prioritised the complaint of the attackers over the assault, which one of the police personnel had witnessed firsthand," read the report.  "We were also informed that the surviving victims, who are also eyewitnesses to the attacks, have not been involved in the spot inspection at the site of the crime nor the police made any efforts to take the eyewitnesses to before the Honourable Magistrate for their statement under section 164 CrPC," the report added.

Puneeth and his associates had demanded that Idrees should be booked under the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act, 2020. The law, passed by the BJP in Karnataka, provided protection to 'good samaritans' who informed the police about illegal cattle transport. However, the law has not made it illegal to transport cattle, as the export of beef from Karnataka to other states is not restricted by the law. The fact-finding report has highlighted seven attacks against Muslim cattle traders in the state since the law was brought into effect. "What emerges is that a group of anti-social elements have brazenly taken law in their hands, for the alleged purpose of extorting money and targeted attacks on Muslim community," the report added.

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