Saturday, April 20, 2024

Former MLA Mukhtar Ansari, who alleged slow poisoning in UP jail, dies

A five-time former MLA from Mau in eastern Uttar Pradesh and one of the senior Muslim politicians in the state, Mukhtar Ansari, who alleged that he was being administered slow poison while in Uttar Pradesh jail, passed away on Thursday in a hospital in Banda district after his health deteriorated again.

He was 63.

On Tuesday, Ansari was taken to a hospital from Banda jail and was later discharged. Ansari has repeatedly complained to the court during hearings that he is not receiving adequate medical facilities in jail.

According to jail sources quoted by PTI news agency, Ansari’s condition deteriorated on Thursday evening after which he was rushed to the hospital.

Ansari has been behind bars since 2005 and was lodged in the Banda prison. In December last year, Ansari was sentenced to five and a half years rigorous imprisonment in a 26-year-old case.

Two days before his death, Mukhtar Ansari’s brother Afzal Ansari, a former MP and Samajwadi Party candidate from Ghazipur in 2024, alleged that he was being poisoned in jail as part of a “conspiracy” to murder him. “Mukhtar Ansari was fed food mixed with a poisonous substance. There is a conspiracy to murder him in jail,” Afzal Ansari told reporters.

Three months before, Ansari moved the Supreme Court about the possibility that he may be eliminated in custody. Ansari’s younger son, Umar Ansari, had approached the top court apprehending that the state government was planning to assassinate his father in Banda jail where he was lodged as a convict and accused in several cases.

On 16 January this year, the apex court had directed the UP government to continue with all the security arrangements to ensure that Ansari “is fully protected from any security breach and consequences.” The court then listed the matter for the third week of July.

On Thursday, many took to social media to mourn Ansari’s death and demand an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding it.

“The people of Ghazipur lost their favorite son and brother. Mukhtar Saheb made serious allegations against the administration that he was poisoned. Despite this, the government did not pay any attention to his treatment. Condemnable and regrettable,” Asaduddin Owaisi MP, AIMIM chief, posted on X.

“Earlier, Mukhtar Ansari had expressed fear of his murder. I demand a CBI inquiry into his death from the Honourable Allahabad High Court, Uttar Pradesh,” demanded Azad Samaj Party chief Chandrashekhar Azad.

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