With the Jharkhand Police dropping murder charges against 11 accused in the Tabrez Alam lynching case, the course of justice delivery in this case is now showing chilling parallels with what happened in the Pehlu Khan case. Those accused of Khan's lynching were acquitted by the trial court, due to Rajasthan Police's reliance on the private hospital where Khan was treated after being assaulted by cow vigilantes instead of the community health centre where his autopsy was conducted. While the latter stated shock linked to severe injury as the cause of death, the attending doctor claimed heart attack to be the cause of Khan's death two days after the assault. Alam, suspected of stealing a bike, was tied to a pole and beaten up by a mob that allegedly forced him to say "Jai Shri Ram" and "Jai Hanuman". He died four days after the assault. The Jharkhand Police is now charging the accused with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, a significantly reduced charge from the original murder charge, based on the post-mortem report saying that Alam died of cardiac arrest.
In both Khan's and Alam's cases, the police acted against the lynchers only after the video of the lynchings went viral and there was massive public outcry. In both cases, the links between the assault and the purported cause of the death-even if the latter were to be accepted-seem not to have been explored. In both cases, the police moved to book the victims first, despite reports of gaping holes in the versions of those accusing them of the crimes. Unless the investigation side gets its act together, there is no hope of an Alam or a Khan getting justice.